EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The stories attached to the people caught up in the middle of World War II are seemingly endless.
US Veteran Clarence Hill was there as US troops stormed the beach at Normandy on D-Day. Shortly after, he would meet a French woman named Lisette and the two would gon to get married after the war.
Fate would see the couple separate and Lisette moved back to France, but neither knew that their son Jack was soon to be born.
On Thursday, with ceremonial gunfire, Jack and Eddie Hill honored the life and service of their father and grandfather, Clarence.
“I think my dad [Jack] wanted to cry the whole time, and so did I,” explained Eddie.
All Jack ever had to connect him to him his father was his discharge papers.
“Years went by and I still had that document, but I had no idea how to find my dad,” said Jack.
Eddie found Clarence’s obituary and a photo of his tombstone online. From there, he made contact with his family in America.
Neither Eddie or Jack had ever seen a photo of Clarence until their newfound family sent them a photo that surprised them both.
“He was shocked and thought, ‘but that’s me,’" Eddie recalled. "It felt like a photoshopped version of him playing piano and my dad has never played piano so it couldn’t have been him.”
“They looked like twins, so I knew that we were related,” said Kristy McDowell, Clarence’s granddaughter. “There was no way you could deny him.”
And there was no way they could deny a chance to meet their long lost relatives, spending the entire week together. Here in the U.S., Jack has two sisters and a brother, who has passed away.
Jack’s only regret is not getting a chance to meet his father and brother before they were gone.
“Now that we know where they lived and we know the amazing people they were with, it feels like they are with us and we are with them,” said Eddie.
Jack and Eddie tell us it has been amazing getting to know their American family. They even toured the LST together earlier this week.
Later this weekend they are travelling up to Bloomington to meet Jack’s sister.