Saturday, September 6, 2014

John Earl Copeland medals presented to Taina Copeland

On August 29, 2014 - the U.S. Army presented posthumous medals and ribbons to Taina Copeland for her late Grandfather's military service and ultimate sacrifice. On April 10, 1944 John Earl Copeland senior and his crew were shot down in Papau New Guinea.

This past year, his remains and those of his crew were recovered. A forensic genealogist contacted me, and I put her in contact with John Earl Copeland's granddaughter Taina Copeland and with his 92 year old cousin George Clark Copeland (of Springfield MO). DNA was collected and dental records need to be confirmed, but the Army determined that the remains were for John Earl Copeland.

On Aug. 29, Major John Heath joined the Kansas community in recognizing John Earl Copeland's service. A police escort and the Coffeyville American Legion Patriot Guard motorcycle escort led Taina Copeland, family and friends to the Cherryvale Cemetery where John Earl's son and Taina's father - John Earl Copeland JR was buried.

With flags raised and waving in the wind, Major Heath gave a speech and then presented Taina with the Purple Heart, as well as other medals.

Photos of the medals are shown here. Photos of the event will be coming soon.

What an honor and a demonstration of how those who sacrificed are recognized and every effort will be made to return them to the U.S.

In Oct. 2014, Taina and her family will travel to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC to witness the burial of John Earl Copeland and his crew members.


*Photo from Montgomery County Chronicle Facebook Page


From the Montgomery County Chronicle - Sept. 3, 2014



*Medal photos from Taina Copeland and Linda Hammer

A list of his medals:







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Thursday, August 21, 2014

JOHN EARL COPELAND REMAINS IDENTIFIED! WILL BE RETURNED FOR BURIAL IN ARLINGTON CEMETERY! GRANDDAUGHTER WILL RECEIVE MEDALS AND RIBBONS ON AUGUST 29!

Last year, I was contacted by a forensic genealogist who saw my information about John Earl Copeland. I put her in touch with John Earl's cousin George Clark Copeland (then age 92) and John Earl Copeland's  granddaughter Taina Copeland, so that DNA samples could be collected and compared to remains found in New Guinea. A year later - success! John Earl Copeland's remains have been identified and will be buried in Arlington Cemetery. On Aug. 29, Taina and her daughter Belinda will receive John Earl Copeland's medals and ribbons at the Cherryvale Cemetery where her father, John Earl Copeland JR is buried. So wonderful to know that my genealogy work and outreach has helped bring John Earl Copeland home!

From the Montgomery Chronicle, Kansas.


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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Duane Miller McKay's cross in the Henri Chappelle Cemetery

Maxime (Max) Noel works recording the histories of the military of all nations buried in cemeteries in Belgium. He has adopted Duane M. McKay's grave. Thank you, Max, for sending these photos and for your hard work preserving the memories and histories of those who fought and died in Belgium.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

George Copeland - Grand Marshall at Veteran's Day Parade in Springfield, Missouri



Thursday, August 1, 2013


DUANE MILLER MCKAY'S WWII BACKPACK SENT FROM GERMANY TO HIS HOME IN INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS - 69 YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH IN THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE!

This is a copy of the article from the Indpendence Reporter Newspaper

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heinrich Augustin (of Germany) holds the backpack of 2nd Lt. Duane Miller McKay - a 22 year old from Independence Kansas who died in December 1944 in the Battle of the Bulge. Heinrich's family held onto the backpack since 1944, and after his 95 year old Mother died last year, Heinrich found it again and was determined to return it to the McKay family.

The backpack has been returned to the Kansas Historical Museum in Independence Kansas, and soon the McKay's and Kansas natives and guests will be able to view the relic and read/hear the story of Heinrich's search to find McKay family members and return the backpack.

 
Coming soon to this blog, more stories about the return of Duane McKay's backpack!

George Copeland - POW tells his story

Memories live on through mementos

George CopelandWas a POW for nearly a year

  • By Sarah Okeson
The daily entries George Copeland penciled into his blue log book more than six decades ago are faded with age. World War II was coming to an end, but Copeland didn’t know if he would survive to see it. The armorer for the 448th Bomb Group had been held captive in Germany for more than seven months.
The first entry is Feb. 6, 1945. Copeland and an estimated 6,000 other prisoners from Stalag Luft IV near the Baltic Sea were marched out of camp as the Russians approached from the east. Hundreds died from exhaustion and disease in what some would later call the Black March. Others were shot when they couldn’t keep up.
Copeland, a farm boy from Kansas who had enlisted with dreams of being a pilot, each day recorded kilometers walked and food eaten, mostly potatoes and bread, or brot. According to his tally, they walked about 473 miles over 86 days.
The first entry is “27” with the words “1/9 can beef 1/3 brot.”

For the full story and to see a video of George, please click here
http://www.news-leader.com/interactive/article/20130526/NEWS01/305260050/Memories-live-through-mementos