First Person: On Memorial Day, a 'Thank You' to a Man I Never Met

My Mother-in-Law's Father Was Killed 40 Years Before I Was Born, but His Sacrifice Forever Changed My Life

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First Person: On Memorial Day, a 'Thank You' to a Man I Never Met

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L.V. Coburn, right, with sister Dessie Coburn Smith, circa 1942.

This Memorial Day, Yahoo News invited family and friends of American service members who died during military service to share memories and photos of them. Here's one story.

FIRST PERSON | In May 1942, shortly before his 29th birthday, L.V. Coburn, a married father of two little girls, enlisted in the U.S. Army.

Like most men in this age, he wanted to help America fight the war. He risked his life to ensure the liberty of all Americans and those around the world. He fought for those he had never met and for his family, whom he left behind.

Pvt. Coburn was killed in North Africa on his 30th birthday, May 7, 1943. His widow and children, at that time ages 5 and 2, had only photographs and an American flag to remember him. His body was buried in Carthage, Tunisia, at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial where more than 2,800 servicemen are buried.

His burial flag, with 48 stars, is hanging on my wall. It was framed five years ago and has moved with my family to four different houses in Florida and Texas.

Pvt. Coburn was my husband's grandfather. His youngest daughter is my mother-in-law. Though I never met him, I cherish what he sacrificed and what his family sacrificed. I doubt that he even knew at the time what his sacrifice would mean to our country and for generations to come. But I often think of him, thank him, and say a prayer for him and all military, past and present.

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