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Mysterious Ways: The Missing Dog Tags

I thought I’d lost my father all over again when his WWII dog tags went missing.


It had been more than three months since my purse was snatched from me on a New York City street.

I had long since gotten a new purse and wallet, and replaced my credit cards and driver’s license. But even after all these months, tears still came to my eyes whenever I thought about the one thing that I could never replace: my father’s dog tags from World War II.

I missed Dad so badly, particularly today as I sat at my desk catching up on e-mails from friends.

My father had fought on D-Day, helping the Allied troops establish a bulkhead on the beaches of Normandy. I was incredibly proud of him and after he passed away, I kept his dog tags with me as a reminder of the many sacrifices he had made and the bravery he had shown.

Every so often, something would make me think of my father and I would reach in and take those tags out of my purse. Running my fingers over the engraved letters and numbers, I could almost feel the warmth and strength of Dad’s hand clasping mine. Losing those dog tags was almost like losing my father all over again.

Suddenly the phone rang, breaking my reverie. The man on the line introduced himself as the manager at my bank. “Ms. Arents, I’ve got a police officer here who would like to speak with you,” he said.

A police officer? Was I in trouble for something? I wondered.

“I’m glad I was finally able to get a hold of you. Your number was unlisted, so I called your bank,” Officer Kraft said. “The manager knew how to get in touch with you. Today on patrol I was inspecting a fence close to the water at Kennedy Airport. Something was stuck on it, covered in seaweed. I looked closer and saw that it was a purse…”

My bag! “Was there anything inside?” I asked him, hardly daring to hope.

“Well, yes. Your driver’s license, your bank cards…and what looks like some old Army dog tags,” he replied.

“Those tags were my dad’s,” I said. “He fought at Normandy. I think you were meant to find them today.”

“Why?” the officer asked. “What’s so special about today?”

“It’s June sixth,” I said. “D-Day.”

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