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“70 years is a long time:” Veteran gears up for trip to see WWII girlfriend for first time since war

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VIRGINIA BEACH -- Norwood Thomas has been thinking about giving Joyce Durrant a squeeze for more than 70 years. He only has to wait a few more weeks. The World War II veteran is gearing up to make a trip to see his WWII girlfriend for the first time in more than 70 years.

"That is the first thing I am going to do. I'm going to give her a squeeze," Thomas said.

Thomas and his son will fly out to Australia on February 8th.

Thomas and his girlfriend haven't seen one another since the war, and Thomas admits he's nervous about the upcoming reunion.

"I am going to a world that I have never seen and meeting a woman I haven't seen in 70 years," Thomas said.

Thomas met Durrant while he was serving with the 101st Airborne Division. He was stationed in England where Durrant was living during the war. The two planned to marry, but the war and their lives afterward kept them apart.

After a simple internet search by Durrant's son, the two will soon meet again.

"To think that just the fact that this woman's son contacted me and it ballooned into what it has is fantastic," Thomas said.

Thomas and Durrant have reconnected through Skype.

Their story captivated some, who set up a GoFundMe page so that the two could reunited in person.

Air New Zealand took the story a step further by offering to pay for Thomas and his son's round-trip flights to Australia.

"70 years is a long time, and at the time it was very intense, and it took awhile for that to die and we will find out if it died completely," Thomas said.

Thomas admits he still has feelings for Durrant, more than half a century later. While he says he is anxious to hear if she feels the same way, this situation could set them both up for heartbreak again.

"We may feel the attraction for each other, but there will be another separation and that separation may be forever," Thomas said.

For now, Thomas says he is keeping those thoughts in the back of his mind and is counting down the days until he can finally be reunited with Durrant in person again.

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