Sisters Mary Thompson and Diana Billings were raised in a household of selflessness. This stemming from their father, Pfc. Waddie Fuda, who fought on the European front in World War II.
"He was a great man," Thompson said. "He was a great father."
"Nobody ever said a bad word about him," Billings said. "Everybody really loved him."
The whole family thought they knew him, until a long-kept secret finally surfaced eight years ago revealing the full picture.
"He never told us," Thompson said. "Our mother never told us when she died. If it was a secret, she kept [it] to her grave."
The secret was kept in a series of telegrams. The first, dated July 7th, 1944, stated that Fuda experienced serious wounds from an enemy hand grenade, hospitalizing him for six months. It seemed only Fuda, his wife, and his mother - the recipient of those telegrams - knew the truth.
"I went and asked his sisters if they knew anything," Thompson said. "They did not know anything, so we had thought that we were going to pursuit and see."
A pursuit worth the effort and some. On Sunday, September 10th, 2017, Pfc. Waddie Fuda, represented by his children, was honored in a ceremony at Those Who Served War Museum in Princeton. He was posthumously awarded a number of recognitions for his service, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, which goes to show that any soldier who responds to the call of duty deserves to have their name remembered for all time.
"They are very humble but still, they need to be recognized for what they did for our country," Thompson said. "There's so much going on now. Our world is so bad and you need a little something like this to be happy about."