CORAL, Mich. (WZZM) — From the sands of Normandy Beach in France, it’s been a long journey home for once soldier’s identification tag.
For 70 years it lay buried, until it was unearthed and mailed back to West Michigan in December.
Denny Jordan was preparing to enjoy Christmas Day with his wife Kathie and 13-year-old daughter Tiarah in their Jenison home, but first he checked his email, and at that moment, his life changed.
The impossible happened: a missing piece of his father’s war days was about to make its final journey home.
“I got a message through Facebook from my cousin who lives in Florida,” said Jordan about his Christmas Day experience. “She’s on Ancestry.com and she was contacted by a person that operates the 83rd Infantry Facebook page.
Thanks to social media, an important piece of World War II has returned home.
“It’s just unreal to have them 70 years later,” Jordan said.
Denny is speaking about his father’s dog (identification) tag which was lost on Utah Beach during the invasion of Normandy. Denny’s father, Henry Jordan, was attached to the HQ Battalion of the 9th Infantry of the United States Army.
“He went ashore June 10th, which was D-Day plus four,” said Denny.
During the battle, Henry’s dog tag fell off and was never seen again.
“I was just blown away,” Denny said, after he was notified about his dad’s tag being found.
Seven decades later, a man in France found the tag with a metal detector. After Denny reached out to him through Facebook, the two begin communicating. The man messaged Denny a picture of the tag and, sure enough, Denny saw his father’s name and serial number engraved on the tag.
“I kind of got a little emotional,” Denny said after seeing the picture of his dad’s dog tag on Facebook.
A few weeks later, an envelope arrived at Denny’s home in Jenison. Inside he found a big part of Jordan family history.
“My dad’s been gone for quite a few years, and it just brought back a lot of memories,” Denny said, describing the moment he saw the dog tag for the first time.
It didn’t take long for Denny to decide what he wanted to do with the tag.
“I’m going to give it to my mother,” he said.
In 1945, Henry Jordan married Elaine Pickard in their hometown of Grant, Mich. Henry passed away in 1982. Elaine has lived 33 years without her husband in the family’s farmhouse in Coral, Mich. Recently, Denny made sure his 87-year-old mother would have a a special reunion with her husband.
Denny pulled the dog tag out of the envelope and handed it to his mother. After inspecting it closely, Elaine started to tear up and said, “this really touches the heart.”
Elaine continued to look at the dog tag and then said, “It’s like he was here yesterday; this is just amazing; this is going to make me cry.”
Later, she clutched the dog tag to her heart, turned to her son Denny and through tears, said, “thank you, Denny.”
“I’m just so happy to be able to do this,” added Denny. “There was no other thought but to make sure she had them.”
Elaine Jordan has been wearing her husband’s dog tag around her neck since she received it.
Denny Jordan says since receiving the tag, he wants to learn more about his father’s time in the military. He plans to travel to Normandy next year to meet the man who found the dog tag and ask him to be taken to the spot where it was found.