Marine Cpl. Thomas Jones
It's a story about one man, a single 22 year old Marine killed in 1944, but it speaks for so many who never returned.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Before Cpl. Thomas "Cotton" Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the South Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his "last life request" to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.
Davis did get to read the diary - but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.
"I didn't have any idea there was a diary in there," said the 90-year-old Mooresville, Ind., woman. She said it brought tears to her eyes.
[...] The diary was a gift to Jones from Davis. They had met in the class of '41 at Winslow High School. "He was a basketball player and I was a cheerleader," she said.
Jones had given her his class ring but they weren't engaged, she said. They had dated through high school. They went to the prom together.
He made his first diary entry while a private at Camp Elliott in San Diego, a little less than a year before he was killed. He described it as "my life history of my days in the U.S. Marine Corps ... And most of all my love for Laura Mae for whom my heart is completely filled. So if you all get a chance please return it to her. I (am) writing this as my last life request."
A sniper's bullet between the eyes killed Jones on Sept. 17, 1944, the third day of the U.S. assault on the Pacific island of Peleliu (PEL-uh-loo), in Palau.
[...] Burlingame said she didn't know why she never got the diary. It apparently went first to a sister of Jones whom she didn't know well, she said.