NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Friday was National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day. A New Bern family got something that will help them continue to remember a family member who died during World War II.
VFW Post 2514 in New Bern remembered and honored an Army private from New Bern who gave his life for our country during World War II. They also presented a special gift to his family. Army Pvt. Charles Cook’s niece accepted his dog tag in a special ceremony, over 80 years after his death.
“This is a national POW/MIA day, we had the opportunity to combine the return of a WWII dog tag, with the POW/MIA ceremony, that’s being held throughout the country,” said Adjutant of the Dixion- Conderman VFW Post 2514, Bobby James Edwards.
(Cheyenne Pagan, WNCT photo)
Cook’s niece, Marian Cook-Haddock, said this special moment is something she did not expect. She said she was two when her uncle enlisted and four when he died, but she said she never heard a bad thing about him.
Cook enlisted in the Army in 1941. He was on duty when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.
“He was a symbol of the average American, raised on a good home, goes to church, dedicated to the community, dedicated to the country and sacrifices his life for the country,” said Edwards.
Cook is one of the 70,000 heroes whose remains were never recovered. Friday, they remembered him and the ultimate sacrifice he and others made for our country so many years ago.
Cook-Haddock said she’s thankful for everyone that helped bring her uncle home.
“All I want to do is thank everyone that had anything to do with bringing this (dog tag) back. He’s home now. And we can rest and he’s with his mother. And his mother is so proud of him,” said Cook-Haddock
In a 1946 letter to Cook’s mother, General Douglas McArthur said that Cook’s service to our country was courageous and patriotic.