LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

By Seth Vorhees

BRIGHTON, N.Y. (YNN/CNN) - Nearly 70 years and after returning from the battlefield a soldier is reunited with his lost dog tags.

"My family comes from a long line of watchmakers and jewelers," said Irving Mann.

You could say that Mann was born to make other people's moments special. He comes from a long line of jewelers, a business now run by his son, Rob.

"It's just nice to be there in those important moments in people's lives," said Robb Mann.

Irving Mann says over the years he has had customers come to him to report losing items they purchased from him, be it wedding rings or watches. Some are lucky enough to find those items but most don't.

So it only seems fitting, that a complete stranger, halfway around the world would help Mann find something he lost nearly 70 years ago.

"I didn't even remember losing it," he said.

The story starts during World War II. Mann landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, his 90th Infantry Division pushing onward through France.

"You go where you're told to go," said Mann.

He recalls coming to the small village of Rethel, where the rifleman and radio operator dug foxholes in a field and later met two women who lived on a farm, trading military rations for eggs.

"Went back to the foxhole area and used my steel helmet to make the best scrambled eggs that I had in months," said Mann.

A short time later Mann was wounded, nearly losing his right leg when he was hit by shrapnel, and his military career was over.

Fast forward to last month, and an e-mail Mann received from a woman in France.

"First thing I thought of impossible," he said.

She wrote that she'd found something.

"And when she was in her barley field checking on the crop, she noticed something glistening on the ground and picked it up," said Mann.

She sent pictures.

"All of the sudden you see the photographs of the girls, then they sent a photograph of my dad's troop. It was just unbelievable," said Rob Mann.

And there was another photo. Mann instantly knew.

"And that's my dog tag. There's no question about that," he said.

So last week, Mann received a package, containing a single army dog tag which he'd dropped in that field in France 69 years ago.

"It's a little beat up, as one would expect after 69 years in the ground," said Mann.

"He just couldn't believe that after close to 70 years, that this was just actually finally showing up," said Rob Mann.

His new friend in France lives in that farmhouse, where Mann and fellow soldiers traded rations for eggs so many years ago. She wouldn't accept any reward for her discovery.

"And here I am at 88-years-old, and to have one more piece of the past sent to me was surprising, but certainly exciting to get back," said Mann.

Mann doesn't know if he lost his dog tags in battle, or while digging fox holes. He's just glad to have back, a piece of his past.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.ksdk.com/1gwjXt5