A World War II army veteran from Virginia will soon travel over 10,000 miles to Australia to meet face-to-face with his long lost first love after over 71 years apart.
Norwood Thomas, 93, of Virginia Beach will make the trip to see 88-year-old Joyce Durrant Morris in February, just in time for Valentine's Day, his son Steven Thomas told ABC News today.
The two had dated for a few months in London during 1944 but were separated when Thomas was forced to leave for the Battle of Normandy in France.
The veteran and his wartime girlfriend connected for the first time in more than seven decades this past November. Morris had surprised Thomas with a phone call after her son Robert had looked him up online.
"When she called me 'Tommy,' her nickname for me, Oh, my God, it stirred emotions that had been dormant for a long, long time," Norwood Thomas told ABC News in November. "She had always been on the fringes of my thoughts this whole time. She'd always pop up as a pleasant memory, and it turns out that she'd been thinking of me this whole time too."
Shortly after, Thomas' and Morris's sons set up a Skype session for the two, during which, Thomas found out Morris keeps a photo of him that she said good morning to everyday.
"I told her that I put her on a pedestal," Thomas said. "I called her the pure, untouched and unobtainable goddess. And there she stayed on that pedestal for the rest of my life."
Though Thomas isn't sure he'd call his "strong feelings" for Morris "love," he is excited to see Durrant again in Australia and to "reminisce about their old days together," his son Steven Thomas said.
Thomas' son added that he and Morris' son didn't want to spoil the surprises they have in store for their parents, but they were willing to share that there would be one day involving "something big with aviation."
Thomas' trip was made possible by hundreds of people who made donations online after reading his story and by Air New Zealand, which made arrangements to fly Thomas and his son first class, free of charge.