WWII Marine’s Dying Wish Is Fulfilled 70 Years Later

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 27 2013 1:07 PM

Fallen WWII Marine’s Dying Wish Is Fulfilled 70 Years Later

ww2
An excerpt from Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones' wartime diary

National World War II Museum in New Orleans

Before he was killed by a Japanese sniper in 1944, Cpl. Thomas “Cotton” Jones wrote that he had one “last life request.” He asked that whoever found his diary would deliver it to Laura Mae Davis, his high school sweetheart. Davis didn’t get to see the diary until almost 70 years later when she was shocked to find it on display at the National World War II Museum, reveals the Associated Press.

The 90-year-old woman, now Laura Davis Burlingame, said she had no idea the diary even existed. The curator of the museum let her have a closer look, saying it was the first time in his 17 years in the business that someone has found “themselves mentioned in an artifact in the museum.” The museum later scanned the diary and sent Burlingame a copy.

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Across the country, Americans gathered to honor fallen service members on Memorial Day. President Obama urged Americans not to forget the country is still at war after he laid the traditional wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.