An elderly woman, named Peggy Harris from Vernon, Texas, spent her whole life trying to be good and making the best of things. Although she has a warm smile, behind it there is a deep sadness which has haunted her since she was young. Her story starts in the 1944. In that period, Peggy, a beautiful young woman met Billie, a handsome 22 years old pilot. They fell in love and soon got married.
Both of them were very happy and excited about starting their life together. They shared dreams and hopes, made some plans, without having the idea how drastically the things will change. A few weeks after their marriage life, Billie was sent to Europe during the period of the Second World War.
Although Peggy was shocked and scared, she knew that Billie has to do his duty.
Soon after he went in Europe, she lost every contact with him. She was spending her days and nights wondering about what happened with him. She waited and waited, but there were no news about him. The weeks and months passed, but there was still nothing. Eventually the war came to an end, but Peggy still had no idea if her husband is dead or alive.
She tried to continue with her life, but she was not able to let go of the dream that she had of Billie one day walking through the front door of their home and yelling “I’m home!” Years also passed and her sadness became a heavy load to bear.
Even when it seemed that all hope was lost, that her husband Billie was dead or maybe abandoned her, she refused seeing other men and also vowed to never get married once again, as he was the love of her life and she could not betray him.
As the years were passing, Peggy slowly began to face reality. She knew that her husband was probably dead. Or if he wasn’t, why else wouldn’t he try to contact her?
Seventy years later, one of his relatives decided that it was time to find out the truth about Billie. He managed to contact the military and also to get access to Billie’s records. The relative found out that Billie died in the war, and no one was surprised because of that. But the circumstances surrounding his death were extraordinary.
According to the records, he died in the same year when they got married, only six weeks after their marriage. He was shot down over Normandy and his plane crashed near a small town called Ventes. The witnesses of the crush were certain that he had used his last moments to prevent his fighter from crashing into a residential area where many could have been killed. At the end, it turned out that he was a real hero.
After hearing the story of her husband’s death, Peggy was really upset, but also relieved for finally knowing the truth. She knew that she should go to France in order to visit his grave. After coming in Ventes, she was overcome with emotions. Billie was a true hero in that town and there was even one street named after him.
The courageous pilot who had fought for their liberation and paid the ultimate price was commemorated three times in a year by the townspeople. One 91 – year – old man who witnessed Billie’s crush, told the story in his own words to Peggy.
Billie and some other friends were the ones who went to the crash site and brought Billie’s body back for a proper funeral. 70 years later, on the same day, the townspeople have gathered together at his grave to pay tribute to their fallen hero.
His remains were eventually moved to a cemetery in Normandy, but the grave which was in Ventes is still there in his honor.
Peggy thanked the strangers who took such care of her husband for so many years. At one point, one veteran said: “If only we could have saved him.” and the Peggy’s touching reply was simple: “You did”.
After her first visit, Peggy has also returned every year to pay tribute to her husband along with the townspeople of Ventes. They were extremely proud to have her with them and now they consider her as another citizen of the town which was saved by her husband, over 70 years ago.
This is one inspiring story of undying love, sacrifice and courage. Billie had fought for that which he thought was right and he has also done everything in his power to prevent innocent lives from being lost. His wife had remained true to him even when she knew that he will never return again. So, we can conclude that even in humanity’s darkest hour, when wars rage and lives are destroyed, true love and courage can always shine through.