Veteran ‘Dumfounded’ Over War Photo

National News
Tiana Stephens War Photo _3263359384817452511
(CNN) It was just a pile of old photos from the Korean War. But it turned out to be so much more.

For Tiana Stephens, the pictures helped her learn more about a cherished grandfather she’d lost a few years back.

For Harry “Bud” Quehl, they offered a chilling reminder of the friends he lost as a crewman on a B-29 bomber.

And for Betty Perkins-Carpenter, the images allowed her to honor the memory of her beloved uncle.

All three are remembering their connections to the Korean War, as the world marks its 65th anniversary on Thursday.

The images — more than 100 black and white photos taken by the Department of Defense — show various scenes from the Korean War, including many unidentified Koreans and Americans. In 2012, a veterans group gave them to Perkins-Carpenter, in hopes she could find out who the people were in the photos and get them to family members.

During the next three years, an amazing chain of supporters stepped up to help ID people in the photos. Their efforts are touching families around the nation.

Stephens first saw the photos on local TV news and thought one of the soldiers looked a lot like her grandfather, Crawford Flynn, who died in 2005.

She tracked down Perkins-Carpenter and brought along an old family photo to compare with the one from the box. “As soon as I put that photo down next to it, it was like a mirror image,” she said. “We were literally jumping up and down.”

Perkins-Carpenter, 84, still gets choked up when she remembers that moment.

“These are more than snapshots,” she said. “These are treasures. Family treasures. We have to get them in the right hands.”

Stephens flew home to Colorado and gave that photo to her grandmother, Nobuko Flynn. It was an image she had never seen of her late husband.

The couple had met in Japan while she was working at a little coffee shop at an Air Force base. “He saw her and fell in love with her,” Stephens said. “I wouldn’t be here now if he hadn’t served.” Stephens opened up about the experience in a poignant blog post.

With so many aging Korean War veterans dying each year, Stephens told Perkins-Carpenter, “We have to put these out there where everyone can see them, because time is running out.”

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