A Purple Heart will be given to the daughter of a WWII soldier nearly 70 years after his death.
Second Lieutenant Hyman Markel died in 1945, before the birth of his daughter, Hyla Merin. Killed during battle in Italy, Markel was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, Silver Star, and several additional military medals.
An article by The Associated Press writes that Merin grew up knowing very little of her father. Her mother rarely spoke of him because the memories were too painful. The couple married in 1941 while Markel was serving in the military, and his death traumatized the young widow.
According to Hyla Merin, the return of her father’s medals helps establish a connection to a man she never knew:
“It just confirms what a great man he was. He gave up his life for our country and our freedom. I’ll put it up in my house as a memorial to him and to those who served.”
The Daily Mail writes that the missing Purple Heart was discovered in a laundry room storage locker, along with the seven other military medals awarded to the WWII soldier. Merin’s mother lived in the building in the 1960s and somehow left behind a box of mementos containing the medals.
The keepsakes were discovered by the building’s manager last fall. He contacted Purple Hearts Reunited, a charity which reunites families with lost medals, who tracked the WWII soldier to his daughter.
Hyla Merin will officially receive her father’s long missing medals today.
What do you think about a Purple Heart being given to the daughter of a WWII soldier nearly 70 years after his death?