- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2009

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (AP) | Emerson Barron has wondered for 64 years how his brother, Jason Barron, died during World War II.

He finally found out and got his brother’s helmet during a Memorial Day weekend trip with his family to Louge-sur-Maire, France, near the city of Fromentel.

Tears and wine flowed as the family - Mr. Barron’s daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Brian Heinrich of Hagerstown, and his grandson and family, Ryan, Holly and Carter Barron of Milton, Del. - celebrated Jason Barron’s service.

First Lt. Jason Barron, of Somerset, Pa., and five other American soldiers died on Aug. 17, 1944, near Fromentel — an area called “Purple Heart Corner” because of heavy casualties there.

The family discovered that Lt. Barron and his men were killed by German fire as they took cover behind a tank.

Lt. Barron was posthumously awarded the Silver Star medal for gallantry in action.

Of the six soldiers, Lt. Barron is the only one whose remains are buried at Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in St. James, France. The bodies of the other five soldiers were returned to the United States.

A villager discovered Lt. Barron’s bullet-scarred helmet in 1944 and tucked it away in a closet, only to come across it about five years ago.

The helmet was clearly marked with Lt. Barron’s name and identification number. That prompted an Internet search for his family. The search led to Emerson Barron, Lt. Barron’s younger brother.

Emerson Barron’s daughter, Linda Heinrich, was in charge of the e-mail correspondence. Plans began coming together for a ceremony to return Lt. Barron’s helmet to his family.

Mrs. Heinrich began her own Internet search for the families of the five other soldiers. She found the sister of Staff Sgt. Levy Guidry from Louisiana.

Joan Eymard and her husband, Hilton, also made the trip to France. They speak Cajun French, which helped in communicating with their hosts, Mrs. Heinrich said. Mrs. Eymard was 4 years old when her brother died; her mother died without knowing what happened to her son.

Mrs. Heinrich has since found relatives of all the other soldiers.

The Barrons and Heinrichs thought there would only be a short ceremony with a presentation of the helmet to Emerson Barron. Instead, there were three days of lavish meals, gifts and “pomp and circumstance,” Mrs. Heinrich said.

The family received in the mail a DVD of the highlights of the weekend.

Plaques were unveiled at the statue of a soldier outside the local church and at the spot where the six soldiers died.

“It was unbelievable - the emotion that was there,” Mr. Heinrich said. He added that several French newspapers covered the events.

Mrs. Heinrich summed up the experience: “The spoken language was difficult to understand, but the language of the heart was loud and clear,” she said.

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