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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dwight Morrison Remembered

.Dwight Morrison, Sandy & Russ Newbury


My friend Rob kindly contacted you about my hunt to determine the name of the victim who was my Dad's good friend. We've figured out his name was Dwight Morrison, the World War II bomber pilot mentioned in your book. My Dad's name was Russ Newbury and he and my Mom lived in Decatur at the time of the fire. He had always told us that he raced downtown when he learned of the fire and identified his friend's body. I'm sending you a picture of Dwight with my mother and father, Russell and Sandy Newbury, for your files.

All we really know is that my father was travelling that week and wasn't due home until around 4 in the morning, so they had planned to visit with Dwight the next day, had not seen him yet. My mother felt guilty until the day she died because she always thought that if my dad had not been travelling, Dwight might have stayed with them at their house instead at a hotel (the mores of the day, you know - it wouldn't have been fitting). My father wouldn't talk much about the war. He landed on Omaha on D day and we didn't find this out until last year - and only because my brother visited Normandy last summer and discovered it! But, the few stories he shared were of "escapades" with Dwight. He sounds like such an amazing man and was such a great loss to the world. I know my parents were devastated.

I found your book so interesting! I raced through it the first time and will have to reread it to really absorb the totality of it all. My tears flowed so many times as I read. Knowing my Dad was one of those grimly searching for his friend . . .

Janet Newbury Daurity
Myrtle Beach SC

Dear Janet,
Thanks for the photo and we can confirm the man on the left is Major Dwight Morrison. (Room 1026). America lost one of her heroes in Dwight Morrison. He survived sixty-five bombing missions over Europe only to perish in the Winecoff Hotel fire upon his return. Sadder still is the fact that he left behind a wife, Hilda, and a son born in February 1947, two months after the fire.

To the good, Dwight Morrison and the other 118 victims of the Winecoff fire inspired the fire safety codes the world relies on. Thanks for thinking of him.
All best,
Allen Goodwin

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