American POW’s gold ring comes home after he gave it away for food during WWII

American POW’s gold ring comes home after he gave it away for food during WWII

After a year and a half behind barbed wire as a prisoner in World War II, 2nd Lt. David C. Cox had just about reached his breaking point.

Deliveries of Red Cross parcels to Stalag VII-A had all but ceased, and the U.S. Army bomber co-pilot and his fellow POWs were subsisting on scanty rations of bug-infested soup and bread. Outside the wire, Adolf Hitler’s forces showed no signs of giving up.

Cold and hungry, the North Carolinian made a difficult decision. He slipped the gold aviator’s ring — a gift from his parents — off his finger and passed it through a fence to an Italian POW, who handed back a couple of chocolate bars.

He would never again see the ring. But it did not disappear.

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Last week, about a dozen family members and friends gathered in the living room of David C. Cox Jr.’s Raleigh home and watched as he slit open a small yellow parcel from Germany. The 67-year-old son dug through the crinkly packing material and carefully removed a little plastic box.

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