A 92-year-old Battle of Bulge survivor has been reunited with a dog tag he lost days before the bloody World War II battle 73 years ago.
“I thought I’d never see it again,” Boris Stern of Carrollwood, Florida, told Fox 13 Tampa.
Jean Paul Mandier, a collector of World War II artifacts in France, mailed the dog tag to Stern after purchasing it from a friend and tracking Stern down in the U.S.
Stern brought Mandier’s package to Carrollwood Pharmacy owner Dan Fucarino Thursday after picking it up at the post office.
“You could tell … when that dog tag came out, he was lit up with enjoyment and happiness and felt, I think, that he had come full circle with that dog tag,” Fucarino told the station. “It was a beautiful thing.”
The Battle of the Bulge began Dec. 16, 1944, when German soldiers launched a counterattack they hoped would turn the tide of the war.
Stern told the Tampa Bay Times in December that he was sleeping in the basement of a dumpy hotel in Belgium’s Ardennes Forest when there were explosions.
“We didn’t have any idea of what was happening,” he told the paper. “I went up to the second floor with field glasses, looked around and saw Germans setting up mortars.”
Stern said he told a lieutenant about the Germans.
“He called in an artillery strike and wiped them out,” Stern told the paper.
Last year France awarded Stern its prestigious Knight of the Legion of Honor for his World War II service.