Like so many of their decade, Peggy and Billie Harris newly wed bliss was cut short when Billie was shipped off to war only six weeks after their wedding. It was July of 1944 - the close of WWII.
Those six weeks were the only days they got to spend together as a married couple
Billie Harris not only didn't return - no one seemed to know where he went. Peggy waited, but she didn't get a telegram or a knock on the door. She did hear bits of information: first that he was missing, then that he was alive and coming home, which unfortunately wasn't true. She received a letter that he was buried in one cemetery, another letter saying he was buried in a different cemetery and then finally another that those weren't actually his remains.
For years she waited, but still no definitive answers came. She never remarried. The entire 60 plus years that she didn't know his whereabouts, she still remained faithfully only his.
"Billie was married to me all of his life, and I choose to be married to him all of my life," Peggy told CBS news.
As the years rolled into decades, Peggy tried to find him
She had to know, and the answers weren't satisfying.
"When people speak of closure they are people who haven't experienced anything like this." Peggy told CBS.
She wrote to her congressman who was vice-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He said her husband was still listed as "missing in action" in the national archives. Later research showed that her Congressman didn't actually check.
But luckily, Peggy had someone watching out for her. Billie's cousin, Alton Harvey, decided to solve this mystery once and for all if possible.
Finally, after six decades, Peggy found her Billie
She is believed to be the only widow who still visits the cemetery in France, and she sends flowers to his grave 10 times a year. But what's even more astounding is how the town honors him.
The main road is named "Place Billie D. Harris," and three times every year they march down this road to read the names of those who served to liberate France in WWII.
Peggy visits annually now. She visits the woods where Billie's plane crashed with Guy Surleau, the only person still alive who witnessed her husband's crash. He told her Billie kept control of his plane enough to avoid crashing in the village, despite his condition.
"I like to think that he was still conscious enough to know that a friend stood by him," Peggy said, sobbing, beside Guy in the forest. "And that this man is that friend."
The people of Les Ventes buried Billie in a local cemetery and decorated it with knee-deep flowers before he was relocated to his American plot.
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