A beautiful WWII love story gets a happy ending after 70 years.

Norwood Thomas is a 93-year-old veteran who fought in World War II. During the war, he met a girl.

Shortly before parachuting into Normandy with the 101st Airborne, Thomas met Joyce Durant along the River Thames.

She was "a pretty little thing," Thomas recalled to The Virginian-Pilot.


Joyce Durant. Photo via The Daily Share/YouTube.

Thomas and Durant fell in love. To this day, he remembers her laugh and can even recite her old mailing address from memory — it was the address to which he sent letters and gifts shortly after the war.

Thomas would have married her, he says. But fate had other plans.

Before long, time, distance, and the war drove them apart. Thomas moved to North Carolina and got married to "a good woman," he recalls, "who helped my mixed-up head get straight."

Norwood Thomas as a soldier in World War II. Photo via The Daily Share/YouTube.

But ... he always thought about the one that got away.

Joyce, it turned out, hadn't stopped thinking about him either.

She, like Thomas, got married after they lost touch. She goes by Joyce Morris now and lives in Australia. One day, while her son was fixing her computer, she asked if it was possible to "find people on that thing."

After 70 years apart, it only took a couple of Google searches for the war-time lovebirds to be reunited over Skype.

Photo via The Daily Share/YouTube.

Morris told Thomas that she still has a picture of him that she says "good morning" to every day.

"Just remember," Thomas replied, "that I will say 'good morning' back to you."

The power of technology to bring people together is truly amazing.

As their story quickly spread around the Internet, people have raised over $7,000 in donations to fund an in-person reunion for the couple.

Photo via The Daily Share/YouTube.

Stories like this are a reminder of just how far technology can evolve in a lifetime. It wasn't that long ago that if you lost touch with someone, it was unlikely you'd ever hear from them again — especially if they lived on a different continent.

Thanks to the power of the information age and the donations of over 300 strangers, one of the most romantic reunions of the century is about to take place.

Air New Zealand also stepped up to send Thomas and his son to Australia, where he and Joyce Morris will spend Valentine's Day together.

What's that? No, I'm not crying. I just have something in my eye. Eyes. Both eyes.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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