Willie Wilkins served in France during World War II, where he worked in the Army's Quartermaster Graves Registration Units. His job entailed retrieving the bodies of American soldiers. At some point, he lost his dog tag.
NJ.com reports that Wilkins, 90, recently had his dog tag returned to him from a woman who found it in France back in 2001.
Anne-Marie Crespo was digging near a tree in her yard more than a decade ago when she discovered the small metallic tag. She assumed the soldier had died. It wasn't until recently that a neighbor convinced her to track down Wilkins.
Crespo contacted her government, which reached out to the U.S. Army. The Army tracked down Carol Wilkins, daughter of Willie.
Following the dog tag's return, Wilkins was honored with a ceremony at Newark City Hall, attended by Mayor Cory Booker and Bertrand Lortholary, the French Consul General in New York City. According to NJ.com, Lortholary praised American soldiers like Wilkins, who helped to liberate France during the end of World War II. "We will never forget what you did for us," he said.