U.S. war widow’s ashes scattered in the Nakdong

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U.S. war widow’s ashes scattered in the Nakdong

Two American lovers divided by the Korean War 65 years ago were reunited in death on Sunday.

Jorja Elliott-Reyburn, 67, was only 2 years old when her father, James H. Elliott, disappeared in combat. He went out on patrol one night during the battle of the Pusan Perimeter, a large-scale battle between United Nations forces and forces from the North Korean People’s Army in 1950.

He was last seen near Waegwan, a small town in North Gyeongsang near the Nakdong River.

On Sunday, Elliott-Reyburn traveled from her home in Star, Idaho, to Korea and reached the spot where her father was last seen.

She scattered the ashes of her mother, Ardyne Elliott Blackstone, in the river. Blackstone died of cancer in February at the age of 87.

It was her last wish to have her remains as close as possible to those of her husband.

Attending a memorial for U.S. soldiers who went missing during the war on Wednesday in Paju, Gyeonggi, Elliott-Reyburn read a letter that she composed for her father.

In the letter, Elliott-Reyburn expressed how much her mother missed her husband, the love of her life.

“She got involved in all the research to find you,” Elliott-Reyburn read. “She was hoping as we were that someday we will have closure by finding you and bringing you at home”

After Elliott went missing, his wife worked for years for the Gold Star Wives of America, an organization to support family members of people who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

As she read the letter, Elliott-Reyburn told her father how much she had missed him growing up.

“It has been rough living without you all of these years, Dad,” she said. “However, we know that you died for a cause that you truly believed in,” she read.

On Sunday, 49 relatives of 26 missing U.S. soldiers visited Waegwan. With an invitation from the South Korean government, they came to the country last Monday.

BY KIM YOUN-HO [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]

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