Peggy Harris from Vernon, Texas, is an elderly woman who spent her life trying to be good and to make the best of things. But behind her warm smile there is a deep sadness that has haunted her since she was a young woman.The story starts in 1944. Peggy, a beautiful young woman, met Billie, a handsome 22-year-old pilot. They fell in love and were married.
Peggy soon lost all contact with Billie. She spent her days and nights wondering what had become of him. She waited and waited but no news came. The weeks and months went by, but still nothing. Eventually the war came to an end and Peggy still had no idea if her husband was alive or dead.
She tried to get on with her life, but she couldn’t let go of the dream that she had of Billie one day walking through the front door and yelling, “I’m home!” Year after year went by and Peggy’s sadness became a heavy load to bear.
Even when it seemed that all hope was lost, that her beloved Billie was dead or had simply abandoned her, Peggy refused to see other men and vowed never to get married again. Billie was the love of her life and she could not betray him.
As the years went by, Peggy slowly began to face reality. She knew that Billie was probably dead. Why else wouldn’t he try to contact her?
Seventy years later one of Billie’s relatives decided it was time to find out the truth. He contacted the military and managed to get access to Billie’s records. When he found out that Billie had died in the war, no one was surprised. But the circumstances surrounding his death were extraordinary.
According to the records, Billie died in 1944, only six weeks after his marriage to Peggy. He was shot down over Normandy and his plane crashed near a small town called Ventes. Remarkably, witnesses to the crash were certain that Billie had used his final moments to prevent his fighter from crashing into a residential area where many could have been killed. It turned out that Billie was a true hero.
When Peggy heard the story of how her husband had died, she was very upset but also relieved to finally know the truth. She knew she had to go to France and visit his grave.
When Peggy arrived in Ventes, she was overcome with emotion. Her husband was a true hero in the town and there was even a street named after him.
A 91-year-old man who witnessed Billie’s crash told Peggy the story in his own words.
This man and some friends were the ones who went to the crash site and brought Billie’s body back for a proper funeral. For 70 years, on that same day, the townspeople have gathered together at his grave to pay tribute to their fallen hero.
Billie’s remains were eventually moved to a cemetery in Normandy, but his grave in Ventes still remains there in his honor.
Peggy thanked the strangers who had taken such care of her husband for so many years. At one point a veteran said, “If only we could have saved him.” Peggy’s touching reply was simple: “You did.”
Since her first visit, Peggy has returned every year to pay tribute to her husband along with the townspeople of Ventes. They are extremely proud to have her with them and now consider her to be another citizen of the town that her husband saved over 70 years ago.
It’s an inspiring story of undying love, sacrifice, and courage. Billie had fought for what he believed was right and had done everything in his power to prevent innocent lives from being lost. And his wife had remained true to him even when she knew that he would never return to her. It just goes to show that even in humanity’s darkest hour, when wars rage and lives are destroyed, true love and courage can always shine through.