NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – It’s been 70 years since then Staff Sergeant Waymon Blundell jumped onto the beach at Normandy. But, the World War II vet still draws a crowd with his stories… and that’s exactly what he was doing today.
“You think about survival… plus doing your duty,” he recalls of the Allied invasion that changed the course of the war.
A favorite WWII tale involves the duffel bag he lost during the D-day jump.
Tyler Plum, a 23-year-old former neighbor, shared with a co-worker that he knew a living historian.
That co-worker, Brad Kerrigan, said, “Immediately, I was like ‘I’ve got to meet this guy!’” recalls the Sherman WWII history buff. “To me, it was like meeting a movie star.”
Over the months, a friendship was born and the airborne brothers bonded.
“I posted Waymon’s picture on the 82nd Airborne page that I’m a part of, and that he had jumped on D-Day and he’s an airborne brother,” explains Kerrigan. “It just exploded and it went viral, and people all over the world are sending him things–t-shirts, letters, cards– thanking him for his service and letting him know that he’s loved.”
And as you might have guessed, it took less than a social media minute for Blundell’s story to reach Belgium. Soon, he was hearing from the owner of a Belgium museum.
“The long story short: ‘hey, I’ve got this bag that Waymon might want. He’s been missing it for about 70 years.’”
The long lost duffel bag has now found its way home to North Texas. Blundell recognized it immediately and began spouting off his Army ID. “That’s it! That’s what I lost…”
Still, with the humble nonchalance that the greatest generation has become known for, Blundell’s biggest concern was the lost picture of his late wife. “I sure did wish to see my wife’s picture come home with that thing,” he said wistfully, “she’s pretty.”
At 94, that’s a man who knows what matters…in any generation. “The greatest,” says Kerrigan with conviction, “there will never be another one like them.”
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