After 76 Years, D-Day Hero Royce Gibson’s Purple Heart Returns

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6859 in Portland, Maine, has tons of relics from the battlefield, such as combat-captured bayonets, German flags, and a Japanese sword that sit silently inside the lounge, behind tables, in a lighted display case by the seldom-used front door. Recently, somebody donated a foot-thick scrapbook full of newspaper clippings from World War II, pasted edge-to-edge on both sides of each yellowed page.


Source: 123rf, Irina Schmidt / Pinterest

Then, one day in 2014, a man named Joel Demers, a Post Commander, stumbled upon these artifacts. As he was looking through them, he unwittingly embarked on a quest to solve a mystery that would take six years to unravel. The story ends in a long-lost Purple Heart being reunited with its rightful owners, but it’s what happened up until that moment that needs to be told.

(Note: This story summarizes the one Troy R. Bennett posted on Bangor Daily News.)

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