LEVITTOWN, Long Island (WABC) -- A family on Long Island was reunited Veteran's Day with a missing Purple Heart medal of one of their loved ones who was killed over Normandy in 1944.
Purple Hearts Reunited presented the medal to a tearful Stanley Rosenzweig, of Levittown, on Thursday at the American Legion in Levittown.
Rosenzweig's uncle Morris Samuelson was a gunner in a B-26 bomber which was shot down on June 12, 1944 over Normandy while on a bombing mission in support of the Allied push through France just six days after D Day. Samuelson's crew was instrumental in ensuring a successful D-Day invasion in the previous days.
Rosenzweig was only 10 years old when his uncle was killed.
"He was 22 years old and he was my hero," Rosenzweig told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne.
The military sent Samuelson's wife, Ruth, Samuelson's Purple Heart, which she tucked away.
Ruth later remarried and she and her new husband had a daughter named Carole Rubin.
When Rubin was a teenager she found the Purple Heart tucked away in one of her mother's drawers. Ruth told her daughter about Samuelson.
When Ruth died, Rubin, who used to live in Huntington, but recently moved to Florida, became the keeper of the medal.
"We really tried hard to find the owners," she said. "But, it was so difficult."
Eventually, Rubin sent the medal to Purple Hearts Reunited.
Erin Faith Allen with the organization said Rubin included a letter in the box with the medal.
"She said, 'Please, will you find the family of Morris Samuelson,'" Allen recounted.
Some members of Rosenzweig's family had been trying to find the Purple Heart for years.
Rosenzweig said he plans to put the medal up on a wall in his home next to a picture of his uncle.
"The family has closure," Rubin said. "I could not be happier."
Rubin and some members of the Rosenzweig family have since communicated and hope to meet each other soon.
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