HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A man who fought and died in World War II was added Tuesday to a Huntington Beach war memorial in an emotional ceremony attended by his family and city officials.
Navy sailor A.A. Woodward, known as Bill, had a baby on the way when he left Orange County for duty aboard the USS Arizona.READ MORE: Kings Winger Brendan Lemieux Suspended For Biting Opponent
“To think that there was a name missing, it just hurts my heart and I’m sorry,” said Mayor Jill Hardy. “But another great thing I’m proud of in this town is that we fix our wrongs.”
Read at the ceremony was a love letter, dated December 2, 1941, in which Woodward wrote to his wife and their unborn child.
“Darling, I’m not sure but I’m afraid that this Japan situation is going to hold up our going back to the States for a while,” he penned. “Oh my darling I do love you so terribly much and I would give anything in the world to see you and take you in my arms and tell you how terribly much I miss you.”
The attack on Pearl Harbor meant the reunion was never to be. Woodward, then 20, was killed with 1,100 other men.READ MORE: Authorities Seeking Pursuit Suspect That Attempted To Run Officer Over
He was honored in his home state of Virginia but never in Huntington Beach, until city historian Jerry Person bought an old LIFE magazine and discovered Woodward’s name and the place that he most recently lived: Huntington Beach.
“He was, shall we say, lost,” Person said. “He was lost in time. But now he is part of our history here in Huntington Beach.”
For the past year, local leaders had worked up to this day, what would have been A.A. Woodward’s 94th birthday.
His name was carved in the black marble memorial behind City Hall during the ceremony, his daughter present during the unveiling, honoring the man she had never met.MORE NEWS: Former Major League Pitcher Ricky Romero Teams Up With Other Pros To Host Free Camp
“Bless his heart, he really thought he was going to be home at Christmas time,” she said. “I think he’d be real happy, real happy.”