WWII veteran’s medals returned home decades later
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A piece of family and American history has been retuned to its rightful place.
After they were missing for more than 70 years, Deb Stone’s father’s war medals have been returned.
In 1940, Ollice Murray was drafted at the age of 19, just three months after being married. He survived one of America’s deadliest wars, and made it back.
Now his fight in Europe can be properly remembered by those closest to him.
“When I opened it up, I just- I looked at Jack, my husband, and just tears wouldn’t stop. Just wouldn’t stop.” Stone said.
Tears of joy as long lost family treasures were returned to their rightful place.
Stone says the symbols of her father’s bravery during World War II were a mystery to her and her family until his death in 2017.
“Our middle daughter was looking at his discharge papers and she said, mama did you know that papa got four bronze stars,” Stone said. “We were floored because we didn’t know and he didn’t talk about it.”
The medals Murray earned during the war were kept along with his uniform in a foot locker. That locker was stolen nearly 80 years ago when he returned from overseas in 1943.
“Everything was gone, everything,” Stone said. “He just didn’t pursue it. I guess daddy thought, you know, he made it home that’s what counted.
As those priceless heirlooms remained missing, so did the story of how they were earned.
“They said I’d never know that, and I wanted to know why I would never know what my daddy did in World War II,” Stone said. “They said because the building that stored the archives burnt down, and all of the papers burned with them.
But that wasn’t the case. A surprise meeting between Stone and her father’s former captain during a trip to Nashville shed some light on her father’s service.
“He said your daddy got the bronze stars because he did what he was supposed to do,” Stone said. “He didn’t question what he was supposed to do. He did it to the best of his ability. He followed commands and he came back.”
Ollice Murray made it back, and now the remnants of his service have made it back, arriving at Stone’s home by mail.
“It was just a heart full of emotions,” Stone said. “I still get a little teary eyed when I look at them now, you know to see. "
One of those emotions is pride.
“I’m so proud,” Stone said. “It makes me so proud to be the daughter of a hero, and he was a hero, he really was. So just pride. Just so much pride.”
Stone says her father didn’t speak much about his time in the service, so she wasn’t that surprised to find out he never mentioned the medals he was awarded.
She says what he did like to talk about was fishing. If you spoke to him about that you’d have a friend for life.
Ollice Murray was 94 years old.
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