In November of 1943, during fighting in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, more than 6,000 died during the Battle of Tarawa. The four-day battle on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands claimed the lives of American and Japanese soldiers and Korean slaves.
Of the thousands killed, many never returned home and were buried on the island, lost to history.
Families were told the Marines were “unrecoverable.” Mothers and fathers died not knowing whether their sons’ remains would return home. Children grew up never knowing their dead relatives.
So imagine more than 70 years later finding out that your lost relative, who you never met but heard stories about your entire life, had been found.
Two nephews of the late Private First Class George Henry Traver received the casket of their uncle in August, when it was finally brought to their hometown of Chatham, New York.
In the last installment in our weeklong series on veterans, WAMC’s Lucas Willard shares their story.