Your support is needed to ensure twelve of the most ardent keepers of America's promise complete the last leg of their journey that recently recovered the remains of WWII hero Lt. Ewart Theodore ("Ed") Sconiers. For TEN years, these Promise Keepers across the U.S., Belgium, and Poland volunteered their time, talents, and hearts to find and bring my uncle home.
Selflessly working with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), they embody its pledge to search "until they are home." They deserve to be in Florida when Sconiers, the man they took as their own, is finally laid to rest with full military honors in his hometown of DeFuniak Springs---next to his mother, who died never knowing his fate. Your funding will pay for their travel, lodging, and meals.
The fundraising campaign might seem daunting. But, if 100 people encouraged 20 to contribute $15, we'd reach our goal!
In 1942, over France, German fighters attacked, crippling Sconiers' plane and exploding the co-pilot's windscreen, mortally wounding him. The barely conscious pilot's burned hands could no long control the plane, so he called Sconiers to the cockpit. Never piloting a B-17 before, the determined bombardier moved the lifeless co-pilot from his seat and took control of the Johnny Reb.
Sub-zero air blasting in his face, Sconiers flew the bullet-riddled plane across the English Channel saving the crew, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Two months later, he and his crew were shot down bombing Nazi submarine pens in France.
Sent to Stalag Luft III, the German prison camp made famous by the movie The Great Escape, POW Sconiers worked tunnel security for Lt. Col. A. P. Clark, who later, with five fellow POWs, buried him in Lubin, Germany, after Sconiers died under mysterious circumstances.
War ended and Lubin, Germany became communist Lubin, Poland. The Soviets turned the Lubin cemetery into a park, removing the cross identifying Sconiers' grave. In 1955, deemed non-recoverable, Sconiers' case closed.
My father, grandmother, and aunt all died convinced Ewart was shot trying to escape and thrown in a mass grave in the prison yard. His widow thought the same. I had no reason to question it until destiny yanked me into the middle of his unfinished story.
I learned American has a promise to its service personnel and their families, and America keeps it. With new clues, lead researcher for DPAA, Navy Chief John Gray, re-opened Sconiers' case in 2006, with no political or family pressure to do so. It was his job; it was also his noble passion. Not even knowing I existed, he wore a POW bracelet with my uncle's name on it, and placed a photo of Johnny Reb on his desk.
Space limits here prevent me from sharing all the twists and turns in the incredible journey that brings my uncle home. Please see: http://www.BringSconiersHome.com
On the anniversary of Sconiers' capture, October 21, 2008, I discovered the gratitude and dedication of people around the world to those willing to pay freedom's ultimate price. Such Promise Keepers fueled a decade-long journey, and at critical junctures, each played a vital role, without which Sconiers' road home surely would have ended.
Over 77,000 of our service personnel are still missing. This story is about those heroes, as well as those serving today and willing to do so tomorrow. It's about making sure families know the resources available and responsibilities they may assume to help the cause. And, it's about ordinary people with shared values willing to voluntarily and constructively work with DPAA to research mysteries, network with allies, and forge collaborations that end nightmares and make a difference.
In that same spirit, won't you help recognize, salute, and encourage such fervent, indefatigable Promise Keepers, those to whom I affectionately refer as "Ewart's Army." Be part of the concluding chapter of this remarkable story by making sure they are in Florida to witness Sconiers' historic reburial---Stalag Luft III's last man out.
Thank you for being another member of Ewart's Army and doing your part to help America keep its promise.
PLEASE NOTE: You will see that you can pay with Pay Pal, credit cards, or debit cards. If you wish to pay with a credit or debit card, just click "pay with credit or debit card." You will continue and get to a screen that has a line down the middle asking you (on the right side) to log in (Pay Pal) OR continue without logging in. If you wish to use credit or debit, click "continue without logging in." Then, you will get a screen with tab to click "pay."