War Heroes Reunite After 61 Years - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/20/05 - Lufkin

War Heroes Reunite After 61 Years

by Ramonica R. Jones

Leo Acosta reunited with a friend he hasn't seen since 1946. The 85-year-old Army veteran lost touch with John Arroyo after World War II.

Arroyo had a big smile and an even bigger hug waiting for his friend when he got to the bus station Monday in Lufkin. The two were like brothers during the four years they spent on the front lines in France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium.

So why the long wait before a reunion? Arroyo says, after the war, everyone was in a hurry to get back home and nobody swapped addresses.

"The only way I happened to have names and addresses, was in the back of all the pictures that I sent home," said Arroyo. "I had the names of fellas and towns they were in."

The two finally found each other last year after Arroyo made a few calls from his home in Brooklyn, New York.

"I put a phone call out to Nacogdoches, Texas and I tried to get all the names from the yellow pages," said Arroyo. "I got a few names, and I called them all, and the one I was able to leave a message for happened to be [Acosta's] number. I think it was about a month later [when] I got a call."

That call helped renew a friendship that has lasted a lifetime.

"I feel wonderful," said Acosta. "I didn't dream I'd ever see him again, no kidding. I hope we stay in touch with one another pretty regularly, and I hope they're able to come back and see us because I doubt if I can go to New York."

No matter how many miles apart they are, the two promise to do a better job of staying in touch, this time for good.

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