Purple Heart medal given to sister of World War II hero

Posted: Updated:

It took two years, but a Purple Heart was finally returned to its rightful place in Belmar.

Ann Bucholz, 96, received the medal that was awarded to her brother, James J. Murphy, in 1945.

Murphy married his high school sweetheart Eleanor Riley during his 30-day furlough from the Army in 1944. Just seven hours after the wedding, Murphy was shipped back off to fight in World War II.

"It was in the middle of the wedding," Bucholz says. "He was told he had to go back right away and he had to leave as soon as his wedding was over. They didn't even have a night to themselves."

Sgt. Murphy went missing in action in the Black Forest of Germany and his body was never recovered. The Purple Medal was given to his wife.

Eleanor Riley later remarried and started a family, who knew little about her first husband. When she died, her children were cleaning out her house in Manahawkin and found the medal in the closet engraved with a name they'd never heard of.

Mary Rawa, of Colonia, found the Purple Heart medal engraved with a name she didn't recognize in her late mother's closet.

"I didn't think anything of it so I left it there and my husband saw it and said 'Mary, this is a purple heart," Rawa said.

The Jersey City and Hudson County Offices of Veterans Affairs eventually found Murphy's sister.

"He sees this," Bucholz said. "I'm sure he does."

 

 

 

 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."