While serving his country in Europe during World War II, Robert Gaines lost his Army dog tag. He was driving a truck in Italy at the time and figured he’d misplaced it there. Over time he wondered about it and now seven decades later, he’s been reunited with it.
The 97-year-old Virginia man was recently contacted by an Italian family who found the ID buried in their garden. To their credit, they’d been trying to locate the dog tag’s owner since the ‘80s, but had no luck. But with new technology, they were able to find some members of the Gaines family and mailed the tag back to the veteran. Gaines’ children say their dad doesn’t remember things well at his advanced age, but that his eyes lit up when he was handed that piece of metal with his name, rank, blood type and serial number on it.
"At this particular point he doesn't realize a lot of things," explains Gaines' son, Frankie. "But just to see him hold onto those dog tags and reflect on the things that he does remember. I was really exciting to me. It means a lot."