The 85-year-old widow of an American soldier recently received her late husband’s identity bracelet, recovering the artifact through an astonishing chain of connections nearly 70 years after it was lost in the mountains of Italy.
Twila McCauley trembled as she held the bracelet just three days before Christmas, according to the Daily Mail, now back in her family after a lifetime of absence. It originally belonged to her husband, Warren, an Army trombone player who won the Bronze Star fighting in World War II. Arriving with the 10th Mountain Division in the Italian town of Castel D’Anio in March 1945, Warren mislaid the bracelet, which he was never to see again.
VIDEO: WWII soldier’s legacy lives on through silver bracelet – http://t.co/wxCNtPW0aN pic.twitter.com/fePviDXsL1
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Bruna de Maria, an eight-year-old child at the time, discovered McCauley’s bracelet in her home following the German surrender. As NBC News reports, her father had converted their house into a field hospital and canteen for soldiers by hanging a white sheet outside. By the time she found the bracelet, the Americans had gone, and her father had been killed by a land mine. No one knows for sure how the bracelet ended up there, but de Maria has kept it ever since.
“I just took it, I was very poor, so a bracelet for me was a treasure,” she recalled. “I always asked myself, who does it belong to? But I never tried to find the man. It almost felt as if it were mine.”
Her son, Stefano Sedda, first held the bracelet in September, expressing that he felt differently.
“This bracelet made history,” he said. “It belonged to an American soldier who came here to fight, to defend our country—that’s why I thought of giving it back.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 27, 2014
Though Sedda was unable to decipher the bracelet, a dinner guest of the family sent an image of it to their cousin, a lawyer named Carolyn Thompson, who in turn reached out to an NBC journalist. They eventually contacted Dennis Hagen, the 10th Mountain Division’s official historian, who was able to connect the bracelet to McCauley by the serial number upon it.
Another military widow wasn’t so lucky just before the holiday. As the Inquisitr previously reported, medals awarded to Christopher Bordoni, a solider who died at 21, were stolen from the North Carolina home of his widow just days before Christmas.
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Stunned to receive her husband’s bracelet, McCauley expressed that she was thrilled to see that Sedda’s family had taken such good care of it over the years.
“I’m about to hit the floor,” she said when receiving the news. “You know the Lord, He is really there—have you ever felt him close? I can feel him now.”
Though Warren McCauley passed away from a heart attack in 1986, his bracelet now provides his widow, three children, five grandkids, and six great-grandchildren a rare and irreplaceable link to their soldier relative and the country in which he served.
[Image via NBC News]