EASTPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)– A daughter’s mission to honor and recognize her father’s war legacy lead to an unexpected and emotional family discovery.
Memories fade, witnesses die, and with each passing year Lisa Hogan of Eastport was determined to track her late father’s World War II military records.
“Most of them did not speak of the war when they came home. They were told, ‘Don’t bring the war home with you. Put it behind you, get on with your lives,'” Hogan told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Her father, Salvatore Ciaburri of Mineola, died when she was just 16.
Years of war department research led her to his role in the Battle of the Bulge. She discovered his arm was shattered by gunshot and he was captured, spending years in the infamous Stalag IX-B in Bad Orb, Germany.
“It was an awakening for me to realize that my father, adorable kindhearted loving father was in such a brutal battle, a prisoner of war,” she said.
Obtaining this information would mean enrollment in the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
“It was very emotional,” Hogan said of the discovery.
Emotions were running high because while immersed in documents, Hogan learned her dad’s brother never made it home. Uncle Mickey Ciaburri fought the Japanese during the deadly and dangerous seven-month Battle of Luzon in the Philippines.
It took the national archives in Washington to help confirm this, as 80 percent of Army war records were obliterated during a midnight fire in St. Louis back in 1973.
“There was a sentence there that my uncle was killed in action May 24, 1945 due to enemy fire,” Hogan explained.
Hogan was able to secure the Purple Heart for her uncle and the Hall of Honor for her father.
“They did their duty for America. I am just so happy to be able to spread the word about them now,” she said.
Hogan’s persistence paid off with a legacy to be left for her family’s future generations.