Santa Barbara- S County

Dog Tag Returned to Carpinteria Family After 67 Years

Military memory came just before a key loss for the Quiroga family

World War2 Military Dog Tag Recovered for Carpinteria Family

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - A memory a Carpinteria family will treasure forever, has been returned, in a journey that took 67 years and 6000 miles.

"I feel it is a miracle, we call it the circle of life, the circle of love," said Linda Hernandez.

One of her father, Manuel's dog tags,  was found in the Solomon Islands by a resident in soil near a small airport.

That's where U.S. soldiers were in a South Pacific battle in World War 2.

Sgt. Manuel Quiroga was there  during his four years in the U.S. Army. He survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and was immediately assigned to the South Pacific as the  war escalated.

He died 22 years ago and a memorial is on the front lawn of the family home in Carpinteria.

As his wife Anita, was nearing her death in January, a family search on line showed the dog tag had been found and a man in Australia had it.

After a few emails, the tag arrived in the mail and the family verified, it belonged to Manuel.

The tag was placed in Anita's hands during her final moments.

"My brother Rick got the tags and he opened her hands and we tell her 'mother you can go now.'  I remember telling her that," said Hernandez. "' Daddy's come for you and we will be fine. Go and rest in peace."

No sooner than the tags were place in her hands, "she passed and she passed peacefully," said Hernandez.

Anita and Manuel had 44 years of memories and four children together.  The unique connection, with the return of the dog tag, leaves their family with a lasting and deeply symbolic message of love.

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