World War II Veteran New Year's remembrance

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BLUE MOUND, Ill. (WAND)- For one local family New Year's Eve is more than just the ball dropping. Seventy-four years ago Sunday Robert Wilcox's plane was shot down over France in 1943. Sunday, Kari Wilcox Foster sat down with us to tell her Grandfather's story

Foster says when the plane was shot down it was a scary day in history for her family. The United State's Military sent them a telegraph, but not much information was provided. Foster says, "His parents had no idea until mid January that he was missing in action. The Wilcox family wouldn't know anymore information until nine months later. Foster says, "But they didn't hear anything else from him until September at the end of the war. That he had stayed with a French family that was kind enough to take him in."

Foster explained taking in an American Solider wasn't an easy task, "At the time it was really hard because you know it was hard for them to feed their own family and take the risk of the Germans finding out, and you know it could have been detrimental to them." The French family kept Wilcox for nine months. Foster says, "I found out that on record my grandfather is the longest held American ever hid by a French family."

Soon after the War Wilcox was released back to his family, but the bond he made in France is something that still last until this day. Kari Foster Wilcox was invited to travel to the area where her Grandfather was kept. She was able to see where his plane was shot down, the room he stayed in while he was with the French family, and the grave they placed French flags on for her Grandfather. Foster says, "I owe everything to them. If it wasn't for them I may not even be here."

 New Year's Eve will always hold a special place in the Wilcox's family. Foster says, "These guys were out there and you know taking all this flack. Planes are going down and here we all celebrate like it's nothing but back then. Yeah huge appreciation not just for my grandfather. For everybody."

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