DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) – A family in Delaware has uncovered a priceless heirloom found in a box postmarked 1949.
They made the discovery while cleaning out their elderly mother’s home, where she had lived for decades before moving into assisted living.
Brodie Miller, who works with the moving company hired to clean out the Hamilton house, found the heirloom.
“It was tucked away, and it was up top on a shelf, like I couldn’t really see, it was just putting my hands up top and I found this box,” Miller said.
When he was able to see the box, it looked familiar.
“Once I brought the box down and looked at it, I was like, ‘Alright, this isn’t something I’m going to throw away right now,’” he said.
Inside the box was a folded flag.
“I’d been given most of Gerald’s stuff when I was 12 years old,” said William Hamilton, great-nephew of World War II veteran Gerald Hamilton.
Gerald Hamilton, an Army flight officer, was awarded the Army Air Medal for his part in Operation Market Garden and then the Battle of the Bulge.
On March 24, 1945, Lt. Hamilton was shot down and later died in action near Viesel, Germany.
“He was temporarily buried around there somewhere, and then, in 1949, his body was moved to the military cemetery in Holland,” said William Hamilton.
He said the flag that Miller uncovered has special meaning for the family.
“That was the flag that was on the coffin when his body was transported to the permanent military cemetery,” said William Hamilton.
The flag looked familiar to Miller because he was given the same type of flag when his father, Arthur William Joseph Miller III, known as “Spud” Miller, a Navy Vietnam veteran, died when Brodie Miller was a child.
“Extremely rewarding feeling to be able to bring it to his attention,” Miller said.
“Brodie was the right person at the right place at the right time because so many people would not have recognized that little brown box having anything important in it,” added William Hamilton.
The Hamilton family said it will make sure to keep this flag and Gerald Hamilton’s story for future generations.