Daddy Comes Home (continued)

Approximately two months later he was running supplies and food to the troops and was swept up in an attack among the Chinese forces on November 4, 1950 in Unsan. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry [Regiment] serving in Korea. As the story was related to his family, he had been wounded and taken as a prisoner of war. During the time prison camps were not as of yet established. Wafray, six other Americans and one Korean soldier, were taken as hostages and lined up, if they could not walk then were executed in an inhumane fashion. Most surviving families do not get the opportunity to know of the fallen heroes fate. However, this is not the case with the Wilson family, they were told the details and want the world to know what a wonderful man, soldier, husband, father and grandfather they have to be proud of. In this particular event of activity as the soldiers were lined up alongside a shallow ditch, they knew would become their grave.
They were each able to face the aggressive enemy that would become their assassins. As reported to the family, MSgt Wilson took the chance to look his killer in the eye and smile leaving them with the one memory to hold on to for the rest of their life, to see in their sleep and every waking moment, until the day they too died. Several soldiers were shot in firing line fashion and left to die in a foreign country under circumstances less than a hero should be left. One of the soldiers that had been shot was able to survive longer than the rest.
He had been shot at the same time, but for reasons unknown by anybody other than God, his killer was not as good with his aim. Private J. Dogherty was injured, but not killed. He laid in the ditch and pretended to have died with his fellow troops. He lay there with MSgt Wilson and talked to him until Wafray took his last breath. Private Dogherty then gathered the Holy Bible of his friend and carefully removed his patches from his uniform and carried it out with him at the time of rescue. After he returned home to his family, he looked for the family of MSgt Wilson but was unable to locate them and relay those details of the death in November of 1950.
In the years to come several people told the young widow woman to date and find her a new love. She would only reply with she had a husband out there somewhere. She continued to raise the children she had and kept their father’s memory alive in them. The young daughter faced conflict when in elementary school by children in her class. On one occasion she was asked where her Daddy was, she replied that her Daddy was a Prisoner of War. Soon the rumors flew that her father was in prison out of their ignorance. Young Marie decided it was time for an education they would not get in class, “He’s not in prison you idiot...He is a prisoner of war so you can sleep in your bed at night, not have some soldier jerk you out in the streets!” In 1991, Marie lost her mother, she continued to hope that someday her father would return home to fill her void left in her life. In 2001, she also lost her brother and yet the void for her father remained strong.
Since her birth in 1950, Marie had lived her life knowing that somewhere her father waited to be found in Korea. At all cost she had defended his honor for his service to his Country. She never had the father-daughter dances. She matured and grew always knowing that her father was a hero out there somewhere in the vast unknown on foreignsoil. She had become a woman of strength and never had shared the hugs of a father or the bedtime story being tucked in my her Daddy. She never got the escort down the aisle of her wedding day by her father. He was physically not there, but in her heart he was ever present. She married and had children and she again would pass on the stories of her father in an attempt to keep his memory alive.
In the year of 2004 a notice was issued by the Defense Department. An excavation team had located the remains of some American soldiers near an area known as Chonsung-Ni in North Korea. Two weeks ago, the official notification came, November 2009...in the remains were the ones of  MSgt Silas Wafray Wilson. Marie sat there stunned and cried, but she was happy.
She would finally be able to make the arrangements for her father’s final rest on home soil, in Alabama. The following weeks were a fast-paced blur of activities and phone calls. News media, the Governor’s Office, Veterans Organizations, and she made one last phone call to a group known as the Patriot Guard Riders. Marie wanted her
>father escorted with honor and dignity to his final home and she wanted as many American flags as possible.
As she sat in the airport terminal awaiting the planes arrival
Thursday, 24 December 2009], she was calm. Quietly she would relay stories of her past and how her mother had made every attempt to keep the father of Marie and Phillip alive. Her mother had been a strength for two children to know and understand what a father and hero they had been born from. She would smile and state what a tiny, petite, and beautiful woman her mother had been. She would look off into open space and smile as if she could see her mother standing there with us in the room. She told of how her mother had died, still in love with the man she had married so many years ago in 1938. Then, as if brought back to the moment she would say that she knew her mother an father were together, it was her that needed the closure. As the Master Sergeant approached us with the news the plane was approaching, it was time for us to go outside to the tarmac, Marie turned to me and smiled.With a single tear in her eye, she stated, “Daddy finally made it home for Christmas.”
Unknown to Marie and her family of children and grand-children, there would be one more event to occur with the returning of her father to Alabama. Outside, the Patriot Guard stood with many people attending a flag line of American Flags and lining the drive to the funeral home were so many flags that most people would lose count. Marie was pleased and she knew that her father would also be. Sitting in the funeral home Saturday, 26 December 2009 and receiving family, friends and guests, an elderly Gentleman approached Marie. She did not know the man and merely assumed that he was a veteran coming to pay is respects to the family as so many others were doing. In his hands was the Holy Bible and the patches from her father’s uniform. Standing in front of her was the very man that talked to her father as he lay taking his last breath in the ditch in North Korea...Private Dogherty. He had waited a long time to give her the one gift that nobody else could, her father’s belongings that he had carried out so many years ago!
The service for her father Sunday, 27 December 2009 was as beautiful as the daughter that had waited 59 years to meet her father. She finally had the closure that she had craved all of her life. She had her family complete and on home soil. She could rest and know that ther mother and father were together and spending time with her brother. She would join them someday and knew they would be there to greet her. She was calm and complete for the first time in her years of life, she could dance with her Daddy and sneak to watch Mamma kiss Santa Claus after all these years, even if it is in her heart. She knew without any doubt after 59 long years, Daddy made it home for Christmas this year.” - Kathy Hooper

On Sunday, 27 December ‘09, a contingent of Blue Star Salute Foundation members attended and participated in the funeral services of Master Sergeant Silas W. Wilson at the Friendship Baptist Church, Upshaw Community, Winston County, Alabama. The Church, filled beyond capacity, were awed by a very young, very petite, very talented granddaughter who sang the National Anthem and “Coming Home”. Marie bravely told the audience just how truly blessed it was to have Daddy “home” for the first time in her 59 years of life.