When Joe Esquibel joined the United States Army as a teenager some seventy-six years ago, he was quickly whisked away to Europe to fight in World War II.
Before he left, however, he purchased a silver bracelet to wear as a safety charm. On one side, he engraved his signature. On the other side, he engraved the name of the woman he loved who he was leaving behind: Lydia.
According to CPR News, Joe was stationed stationed at a prisoner of war camp in then-Czechoslovakia. Sadly, before he left for Germany in 1945, his bag was stolen and it contained his special silver bracelet.
While Joe thought the bracelet was lost forever, a Czech reporter named Petr Svihohec took a metal detector to the ruins of the POW camp and discovered the small metal piece – 76 years after it’d been stolen.
According to CPR News, Petr said (translated): “So I started to dig and I found a U.S. pin. And after that I found a silver bracelet on which I noticed that there was a kind of signature.”
The outlet reported that Petr cleaned up the bracelet and shared a photo of it on Facebook, hoping someone might recognize what was engraved in the metal. People gave him around 30 different guesses, but one made the most sense: Lydia Esquibel.
Petr tracked down Lydia but discovered she sadly passed away in 2019. However, his search led him to Lydia’s husband and the owner of the bracelet.
Petr shared photos and stores of the situation in a dedicated photo album on Facebook.
He was able to reunite the now 96-year-old Joe with the long-last bracelet, and he couldn’t be happier about having it back on his wrist.