This WWII Veteran Was Reunited With His Lost Love After 70 Years

Photo: Courtesy of Air New Zealand.
Norwood Thomas has advice for young couples who think they've found the one: "Enjoy today, let tomorrow take care of itself and when it comes, enjoy it."

He speaks from experience.

The 93-year-old World War II veteran just reunited with his lost love, Joyce Morris, after spending 71 years apart. Decades after a misread love letter put an end to their romance, the couple was brought back together with the help of technology, thoughtful strangers, and a 13-hour flight from Los Angeles to Australia.

"I was a bit anxious at first," Thomas told Refinery29 of the reunion. "But I was most anxious before we got to the hotel where she was waiting for our arrival."

The romance between Thomas and Morris (née Durrant) began along the banks of the River Thames during WWII — just months before Thomas was parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division. They fell in love, corresponded via mail, and last saw each other in 1945.

After the war, Morris, now 88, received a letter from Thomas that read, "Why don’t you come and make my house a home?" according to The Virginian Pilot.

But she misinterpreted his message, assuming the letter meant that Thomas was married, but was considering leaving his wife. She wasn't interested in that proposition.

"That was the end of it," she told The Pilot.

For decades, the onetime lovers went on with their lives. Thomas relocated to Virginia and married. Morris married and moved with her husband to Australia to start a family. Thomas came to believe that Morris died in a London plane crash in the 1990s.

But Morris continued to think about Thomas. And one day, she asked her son to help her look Thomas up online. To her delight, an article about him came up in the search results. Her son reached out to the reporter who wrote the piece and asked for help reconnecting the two.

Then the Skype call came.

It was the first time they'd laid eyes on each other since 1945, except for the occasional glances at old photos they'd kept over the years.

“It’s nice in our declining years, isn’t it?” Morris said, according to The Pilot. “We can just have a little chat now and then. I think that’s lovely.”

“The only one big problem is, I can’t take you in my arms and give you a squeeze,” Thomas replied.

Their in-person meeting was made possible with the help of a kindhearted stranger, who decided to take action after reading the story in The Pilot, Thomas said. The reader launched a GoFundMe account that raised money for a trip. Shortly after, Air New Zealand offered Thomas and Morris free flights, and said that the couple could choose where they wanted to reunite.

"At first we were thinking London for old times’ sake, but considering the weather this time of year, we decided to go see where Joyce lives in Australia," Thomas said.

The minute they saw each other, they embraced. Their reunion was filled with laughs, old stories, and catching up on seven decades of time lost.

When asked if they would meet up again in the future, Thomas said that "distance, age, and expense can be a factor." But he's hoping that they'll be lucky to overcome those barriers once more.

"I would like to see her again," Thomas said.

You can watch the couple's reunion in the video, below.
Norwood and Joyce Reunited

Sometimes love stories aren’t what they seem in the movies – sometimes, they are even better. Time kept them apart for 71 years. But yesterday, Norwood and Joyce reunited. #TimelessLove #Reunited #LoveIsInTheAir #AirNZLoveStory

Posted by Air New Zealand on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
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