AMESBURY (CBS) – The uniform of a World War II paratrooper that was lost for decades is now in the hands of his granddaughter.
The family of World War II veteran Stanley Kawa received his uniform during a special ceremony Saturday at Amesbury City Hall.
Sadly, no one alive in his family today ever knew Kawa.
Marica Salamon said her father died before she was born. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 22 in 1941. He served as a paratrooper for five years and earned a Purple Heart.
He died at the age of 31 when his wife was pregnant with Marcia.
“I was told that it was a brain tumor but there were other issues involved, and whether it was something else, I have no idea,” Salamon said of the cause of her father’s death.
After Kawa died at a very young age, his uniform somehow got lost.
It found its way onto eBay 77 years later, placed there by a collector of war memorabilia, who then contacted Kawa’s family.
“There was a laundry tag inside that had initials and apparently the last four numbers of his dog tag numbers,” Salamon said.
On Saturday, family members were reunited with Kawa’s uniform.
“It’s really special,” said granddaughter Michelle Sanchez. “I’ve heard some stories, again, there wasn’t a lot said about him because I think it was a very painful time for my grandmother.”
The family thanks the man for finding this piece of history and bringing closure to a family who did not expect it.
“It kind of makes me feel close to him, that I have a part of a person that I did not know and that was my father, and it’s amazing,” Salamon said.
The family says it plans to find a way to preserve Kawa’s uniform.