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Wendell veteran reunited with WWII dog tag after 70 years

Posted July 4

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— A World War II dog tag brought two men together Monday in perfect Fourth of July fashion.

Juri Galli lives in Pisa, Italy, but he made the long trip to Wendell this week to return a dog tag to its rightful owner.

The tag belongs to World War II veteran Bennie Howard, who grew up in Wendell and served in Italy in his 20s.

Now, living in New Bern at the age of 93, Howard had been missing his dog tag for 70 years.

Galli found Howard's dog tag two years ago in Italy while using a metal detector. He made the trip to America just to meet Howard and return his dog tag.

"I'm very happy to meet Mr. Howard," said Galli, who will fly back to Italy next week.

The special reunion was celebrated Monday during Wendell's annual Fourth of July parade. Crowds cheered for Howard and Galli as they rode in a car, standing side by side, during the ceremony.

"I almost couldn't believe [he found me]," said Howard. "The time span kind of blows your mind. It's a one in a million thing, I guess."


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