'They wanted to be together': Nebraska twins killed in 1944 will be reunited at Normandy | Regional/

OMAHA, Neb. Theyll be together again. Finally.

On June 19, 1944, death separated Julius and Ludwig Pieper, identical twins from Creston, Nebraska. A mine tore apart LST-523, the flat-bottomed Navy cargo ship both served on, just offshore from the newly established Normandy beachhead. The brothers, age 19, died along with more than 200 other U.S. servicemen.

Everywhere they went, they went together, recalled Mary Ann Lawrence, 88, their only surviving sibling. They were normal, average boys.

The body of Ludwig known as Louie to friends and family was recovered and buried beneath a white cross at Normandy American Cemetery. But no one ever found Julius, known as Henry. His body was lost with the ship, which sank to the bottom of the English Channel.

The Pieper family heard nothing more for decades.

Then in mid-November, Lawrence and her daughter, Susan, got a surprising call from the Navy at the home they share in Fair Oaks, California. Henrys body had been entombed for decades in a U.S. military cemetery in Belgium, in a grave marked unknown. Now his remains had been identified at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Lab at Offutt Air Force Base.

I was shocked and surprised and happy, Mary Ann Lawrence said.

And she wasted no time in deciding where Henry should be: next to his brother, in the cemetery at Normandy.

They were born together, they wanted to be together, she said.

Henry and Louie were born in South Dakota on May 17, 1925. The family moved to a farm near Creston when the....

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