Tuscaloosa County family welcomes home WWII veteran killed in action

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) – The wonder of science and DNA has brought a Tuscaloosa County family peace, closure and, in some ways, joy that their loved one has finally returned from a foreign battlefield decades later. It is the story of a young soldier from Alabama who showed courage on a distant battlefield more than 75 years ago. His name was Bill Morrison.

Bill Morrison returns home, to his home in Alabama. Bill Morrison was Vicky Morrison Walker’s uncle…her father’s older brother.

“All the years we saw dad cry,” Walker said.

The story dates back to World War II. A fierce shootout in the Hurtgen forest in Germany. Morrison made the ultimate sacrifice and breathed his last on November 8, 1944. He was 29 years old.

“In the letter it says ‘enemy machine gun fire,’ according to the letter Walker read aloud.

The letter, that of the army dated June 13, 1950, which officially confirmed the death of Bill Morrison under the category “Conclusion of death”. But one, his grieving parents never found comfort or acceptance, especially his mother.

“The day he died, she literally believed he was still alive. She never got over it,” she says.

Fast forward so many years later, the remains of Bill Morrison have been found in an unmarked grave in Belgium. DNA connected the dots in the family tree, all courtesy of accounting agency Defense POW/MIA, which accounted for Morrison’s remains last summer.

“What they’re doing with DNA is amazing,” Walker said.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that until now, Vicky Walker never thought the day would come when the family would receive such incredible news.

“We never found out where his body was,” Walker said. “It’s really closing time for us. He and dad are laughing and having a good time now.

As the Morrison family prepares to turn the page of a remarkable story for the last time, Vicky Morrison Walker rereads the letters that Bill and his mother exchanged during the war. They are worth their weight in gold, a family treasure that revealed a young man’s heart and the anguish of a mother’s protective love.

“She was a kind, sweet person. You can see the fading…little tears from her mother,” Walker said.

On Friday at Spanish Fort, Bill Morrison was laid to rest with full military honours, a 21-gun salute and a farewell from a grateful nation. Bill Morrison is finally home, finally home.

“They would be so proud of him,” Walker said.

There are so many other Bill Morrisons out there. Over 80,000 service members are missing, an estimated 40,000 are considered salvageable.

Morrison’s staff profile can be viewed here.

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