If not her brother, somebody’s brother was in one of the fifty-five boxes delivered from North Korea to the United States Government, and it was for this reason that a woman, who re-introduced herself as June Powell, wrapped her arms around Harold Stockwell, and wept tears of gratitude for, as she said, ‘the wonderful work that he was doing’.
Harold led a team of forensic anthropologists hired to sort through and identify the remains stored in the boxes—soldiers mostly, from the conflict in Korea, nearly seventy years ago.
He’d seen June before.
In ’98, North Korea had transferred two hundred and forty-four similar boxes. Under a man named Parker Hill, Harold and a dozen other FA’s had identified the enclosed remains. June Powell had been there then, hoping to find her brother. She had hugged Parker as well.
Ten years it took them to put names on the bones in the boxes. June Powell had called weekly for updates. Harold had spoken to her at times, telling her, no, they had yet to find her brother, and that someone would notify her immediately, if and when they did. She would always ask about the others—the families who had received lost loved ones. She would say, ‘We’, as if she spoke for all of them, ‘are so very grateful for the work that you are doing.’
To Harold, then, the ‘work’ that he was doing was just a steady paycheck. But seeing June Powell again, twenty years later, with this new round of boxes. The devotion this woman must have. ‘Yes, I remember you,’ he had told her. And when she wept in his arms he knew that he would call her every week and give her the news, be it good or bad.