Gerald Herbert, Associated Press
In this May 23, 2013 photo, a page of out of the diary of 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Thomas Jones featuring a photo of his high school sweetheart, Laura Mae Davis Burlingame, is on display at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Behind is a Marine uniform like one Jones, who died in the bloody assault on a Japanese-held island during World War II, would have worn. Before Jones died, he wrote what he called his “last life request” to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved. Laura Mae Davis Burlingame _ she married an Army Air Corps man in 1945 _ had given the diary to Jones, and didn’t know it had survived him until visiting the museum on April 24.
NEW ORLEANS — Before Cpl. Thomas "Cotton" Jones was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Central Pacific in 1944, he wrote what he called his "last life request" to anyone who might find his diary: Please give it to Laura Mae Davis, the girl he loved.
Davis did get to read the diary — but not until nearly 70 years later, when she saw it in a display case at the National World War II Museum.
The 90-year-old Mooresville, Ind., woman said she didn't know the military diary she gave Jones had survived him. She said seeing it after so many years brought tears to her eyes.
Jones was killed on the third day of the U.S. assault on the Pacific island of Peleliu (PEL-uh-loo).