Lynchburg, VA - Friday was a very special day for one family at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford. The Haynes family gathered to receive medals a loved one earned many years ago
This story begins nearly 70 years ago. Private First Class Alonzo Haynes had always dreamed of serving his country. But one early morning, in 1944, Alonzo's brother, Tollie Haynes, received the letter every Military family dreads.
"It is with regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class Alonzo Haynes, who was killed in action on August 22nd, 1944 in Italy," said Tollie Haynes, as he read from the letter hit mother received.
Almost seven decades after reading that letter for the first time, Tollie Haynes realized his brother, Alonzo, earned medals, he never received. That spurred him to write a letter of his own.
"Dear Sir, I respectively request your assistance in the following matter. I am writing to you about my brother, Alonzo Haynes. I thought our mother, Hessie Haynes, had received all of his medals, but apparently not," said Haynes, as he read from a letter he wrote to Senator Warner.
Almost 2 months to the day after that letter was penned, a representative from Senator Warner's office hand delivered a letter from the Senator himself.
"On behalf of all Virginians and Americans, I am gratified knowing that your family will now receive the medals and commendations that which your brother is entitled," said Lou Kadiri, Constituent Services Director for Mark Warner's Office.
And with that letter, 2 precious medals, Alonzo Haynes never lived to see.
"I am so honored to get these medals, I appreciate you guys and Senator Warner's staff for getting them for me. I'll never forget him, it touches my heart, It means a great deal, just like part of him came back," said Tollie Haynes.
Alonzo's family received Alonzo's Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medal.
Alonzo Haynes was one of 18 children. He had 11 sisters and 6 brothers. Three of Alonzo's brothers also served in World War II, including Tollie.