ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
A week ago, 19-year-old Sydney Rector of the Bronx went to a music store in Midtown Manhattan with her boyfriend, Stevin Tyska. 66 years ago, Joseph Farish, Jr. was in Midtown Manhattan, waiting to ship out to North Africa during World War II. Coincidence?
Well, listen to this story, which we're going to start hearing from Ms. Rector and Mr. Tyska, who join us from New York City. Sydney and Steve, tell us first about where you were last week and what you found.
SYDNEY RECTOR: We were on 48th Street, the Sam Ash and Manny's Music, just hanging out and we went - you can walk through the buildings in Manhattan. So they're not like desolate alleys. They're nice buildings.
We were walking through because we wanted to go under. There's a tunnel between 48th and 47th Street, and it's a plastic tunnel. And above you, there's a waterfall. So you just see the water falling on you. It's a pretty cool tunnel. We were walking through, dancing around, being stupid, and my boyfriend saw something sticking out. And we always just mess with stuff, you know? And he saw it, we picked it up and read it, and then - I put it in my purse, and that's how it happened.
SIEGEL: It was a dog tag.
STEVIN TYSKA: It was a dog tag.
RECTOR: Yeah, it's a dog tag.
SIEGEL: And what did it say on the dog tag?
RECTOR: It said his name.
SIEGEL: The name.
RECTOR: His tag number, his ID number. It had his contact, which I think was his mother, and his old address at Cordova, I think, Cordova, Florida.
SIEGEL: And did you - were you able to find?
RECTOR: Well, I typed in his name, Joe Farish, Jr., and it came up that he had a law firm. And I called up the law firm because it was about 9:00 at night when I called and I left a message on his work phone. And then he called me back the next day.
SIEGEL: Well, now joining us from Florida, from Palm Beach, is Joseph Farish, who is still practicing law there at the age of 87. Welcome to the program.
JOE FARISH: Yes, glad to be with you.
SIEGEL: Do you remember getting that phone call?
FARISH: I certainly do. I questioned her, what was on the dog tag, and I knew it was mine.
SIEGEL: This was a dog tag that you'd had on you and you'd lost it in New York City in 1943.
FARISH: I didn't realize I had lost it.
SIEGEL: So, you must have...
FARISH: Evidently, I went into New York in March of '43 and I was stationed at Camp Kilmer, which is right near New York, and I went into town on two occasions. I remember one, I went to a show on Broadway. I remember seeing Milton Berle. And also, I went to, another time, at a party at the USO, kind of a going away party because we were going to be shipped out in a convoy to North Africa. I had volunteered to go overseas to get in combat. I got tired of laying around the States. I wanted to fight.
SIEGEL: And on one of those trips, I guess you...
FARISH: Evidently, I lost it.
SIEGEL: You lost your dog tag. Well, is it a possession, Mr. Farish, that you're very pleased to have once again?
FARISH: Absolutely. It meant a lot to me. It brought back a lot of memories and all because I went to North Africa and to Sicily, and I was with the Big Red One that we made the landing on D-Day on Omaha Beach in Normandy and went all through Europe and ended up the war in Czechoslovakia, where we met up with the Russians.
SIEGEL: Wow. Now, we should say, we don't know - for all we know, this was in somebody's drawer somewhere and was dumped out of a window the week before you found it. We don't know how long it was there.
RECTOR: That's what we figured. We figured that somebody saw it, picked it up, dropped it. Somebody else saw it, picked it up, dropped it. I mean, yeah.
TYSKA: It probably has a long story.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
SIEGEL: But you...
FARISH: Well, I have to admire Sydney. She's a very kind and a patriotic person to recognize that and to get it back to me. It's very dear to my heart...
RECTOR: Thank you.
FARISH: ...and I thank you very much, Sydney.
RECTOR: Thank you. That's sweet. No problem.
SIEGEL: Yeah. I'm just curious, Sydney, since you're the one who called up to look for Mr. Farish. Let's say other people had seen this dog tag at some time between 1943 and now. You're the one who followed through and found it. Why? Why did you do that?
RECTOR: Well, I mean, me and my boyfriend were talking about it, and it's like it cost us a phone call and a stamp, you know? It didn't take much physical exertion or energy at all.
TYSKA: There're still friendly people in New York City.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
FARISH: Yes, there are and I admire them. They're great.
SIEGEL: Well, Sydney Rector and Stevin Tyska of New York City, of the Bronx, and Joseph Farish of Palm Beach, Florida, thanks to all of you for talking with us.
TYSKA: Thank you, Robert.
RECTOR: Thank you.
FARISH: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And the three were talking with us about a dog tag that was lost 66 years ago in New York City and reunited with Mr. Farish in Florida.
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