Every morning is a ritual.
We settle in, log in and check email before the nine-to-five. But once in a while, something comes along to break this mind-numbing monotony.
This is one of of those cases.
My name is Arnaud and I from France. First of all, excuse me if my writing is not so good. I'm looking for someone who can help me to find some information about a hero of the World War II. His name is Walter Clare Holder."
Buried in the wrinkled pages at the Vanderburgh County Recorder's Office, we found our first clue into this 'invisible man.'
"He did exist," said Vanderburgh County Recorder Z Tuley. "He was a corporal. It says Destination: European Theater."
"When you're finished serving your country, they give you what is called a DD-214. That's the number they give it. It's basically letting you know you had served in the military and now you're done."
But why? Why would a man in France want to know more about an Evansville native he has never met?
The book had not closed on our search for Walter Clare Holder. We found his headstone at Sunset Memorial Park where he was buried alongside his wife Geneva. Our search then took us to Little Rock, Arkansas to find the next of kin. As it turns out, we weren't the only ones looking for something.
"It says he expects to be shipped out any day now," said Connie Tapp, the daughter of Walter Clare Holder, as she read through her father's diary. "I wonder if that's why he didn't write anymore is because he did ship out."
Unfinished is the diary Connie Tapp hangs onto. Incomplete is Connie's memory of her father. .
"With me being small and whatever, he especially took care of me and looked out for me," said Tapp. "We just had a special relationship. It really hurt when I lost him."
That was in 1978 when Connie was only 28. Since then, she's spent the months and years and decades wondering and wanting to know more about her father, her WWII veteran, her hero.
"He really didn't like to talk about it much," said Tapp. "If you asked him a question, he'd have one word answers or he would evade the question completely. I think it would have helped him some if he had talked about it and gotten it out in the open. Then I would have known more besides what few pictures i have."
You can find Walter Clare Holder between the frayed and tattered frames of a photograph. He's our 'Invisible Man.'
Walter Clare Holder, nicknamed Tubby, was part of the 3704th Quartermaster Truck Company. He was responsible for maintaining the supply lines to Allied Troops in France then Belgium and then Germany.
But we wanted to know more so we contacted the National Archives.
"Thank you for contacting the National Personnel Records Center. The Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) needed to answer your inquiry is not in our files. If it were here on July 12th, 1973, it would have been in the area that suffered the most damage in the fire on that date and may have been destroyed."
"Maybe someday, I'll know more," said Tapp. "Maybe someday it's going to come full circle."
Maybe someday we will all know more about this 'Invisible Man.' Maybe someday, we'll realize we weren't looking in the right spot.
This is one of those cases.
Thank you so much for what you do to help me. I pasionnate by WWII and during my vacation I often go to Normandy where the American troops landed in France. Last summer, I get the helmet Walter Clare Holder.
"These pictures are just remarkable," said Tapp. "As I look at them, I'm just in awe of what I see."
Great pictures are taken not with a camera. Great pictures are taken with the mind.
"It would complete a circle that had been started many many years ago that I didn't know much about," said Tapp. "Now that I would have this and have it in my hands, it would make it more real."
Walter Clare Holder, our Invisible Man, was hardened by war but softened by a daughter's smile. He's a father and a hero without his crown.
If there's one thing we've learned in this search it's that we weren't the only ones looking for something.
I would like to honor his memory and write a small article and ask to publish it in specialized magazine. I would like French people know what he did for our freedom and it's a way for me to honor his memory, a way for Walter to be known and not unknown.
It's as if Walter can be visible and no invisible.
But as it turns out, Walter Clare Holder, isn't the only Invisible Man. Our mystery email correspondent, Arnaud, is too.