If you're the son or daughter or family of an American who was killed in World War II, or if you simply feel as we do that these men must be remembered and honored, we're so glad you're here!
We're the American WWII Orphans Network (AWON).
Founded in 1991 by Ann Bennett Mix, and headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, AWON is comprised of several hundred members from all over the nation – sons and daughters and other family of Americans left with a void after World War II.
Any son or daughter of a soldier, seaman or airman killed, missing or who died while on active duty during WWII, or as result of wounds, is eligible to join AWON as an Orphan Member. Other relatives of the fallen, including a brother, sister, wife, nephew, niece, grandson, or granddaughter are welcomed as Family Members.
Friends of those killed, or others who wish to join and participate in AWON meetings and activities and receive our Newsletter are welcomed as Associate Members. Organization Memberships are open to any group with an interest in our activities and purposes.
Click the "Our Fathers" button on the Main Menu to see photographs and stories of some of the men mentioned above. Or Click "Their Victory" on the Main Menu for a tour through some of the more significant artifacts of World War II.
Or join us. Because if you're an orphan of an American who was either KIA or MIA in WWII, or if you're in any of the categories above, we've finally found each other.
Whatever the reason for your being here, we welcome you.
I went through life not knowing I was a "war orphan." I had heard that term – but I thought it referred to children who had lost both parents, probably in Europe during the war. But the fact is that an orphan is anyone who has lost one or both parents, and a "war" orphan is universally used by governments, including our own, as a term for children who have lost a parent in war.
I learned I was an American "war orphan" about the time I first began to want to find others like myself whose fathers had died in WWII. At that time, I had no idea who they were, where they were or how many there were. When I turned to government agencies for help I discovered that they did not know either! It was obvious there was a long struggle ahead, but I was determined we come together and talk about our lives and what happened! As I started finding people and as we did talk I was angered and saddened to learn how few people had ever talked with another war orphan, or had been allowed to talk about their fathers. I learned most of us had spent our lives feeling isolated and knew little about our fathers service or how they died. Some had never even seen a photo of their Dad!
By checking veterans administrations statistics on benefits paid to war orphans I learned there had to be at least 183,000 children who were left fatherless as the result of WWII! I knew with greater surety that we needed to find each other, form a network all our own, and find out how to locate information about our fathers!
Since that time in 1991, the American WWII Orphans Network was formed, became a non-profit organization, and has achieved national recognition by military, government and veterans groups. We have located more than 1,000 sons and daughters of men who were killed – and many other family members. We have brought people together across the nation, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Washington and have also formed an online computer network of very active and sharing individuals from all over the United States.
The difference most of us have felt has been profound. Our ability to get responses to questions from our government, to receive records, medals and benefits has increased ten fold. Our knowledge of how to contact war buddies, find family members and friends has increased. We are sharing what we know with each other through the network, both online and offline, in our Quarterly Newsletter -- The Star, and in a book of Resources called "Touchstones."
In this coming together of AWON, our lives have been transformed. Please join us!