AWON (American WWII Orphans Network) is dedicated to our Fathers and to the service of their families.
More than a million fathers served in World War II. Leaving their wives and children, they traveled overseas, where many paid the highest price in service to their country.
Some are still there, buried in foreign cemeteries. Others are still missing or were never recovered, and some of those were lost or buried at sea. Many are memorialized on the Walls of the Missing, examples of which may be found at a number of overseas cemeteries and in home town cemeteries across America.
The deaths of more than 406,000 men left an estimated 183,000 American children fatherless, and totally unaware that so many others share the same condition.
Some of these children (and grandchildren) have already found the American WWII Orphans Network, but most don't know where to look. It is this latter group we seek – so if your Father or Grandfather was killed in WWII, or as a result of WWII, you've found us!
Most of these fatherless children are now in their fifties and sixties – and whether they found us or whether we found them, they are finally being brought together for the first time by the American WWII Orphans Network.
We locate American WWII orphans wherever we can find them.
We show them they aren't alone, and help them understand some of the commonalities most of us share.
We help connect them to sources of information about their fathers from military and government records.
We help them honor – in every way possible – their father's service and sacrifice.
We hold local, regional and national gatherings and conferences.
We publish The Star -- a quarterly newsletter of research information, resources, hints, tips, and success stories.
We provide and maintain this Website, a series of Bulletin Boards, a Guest Book, a Press Page, and a highly active E-Mail community connected through a private, university-based mail server.
We maintain the only database known to exist on orphans of those lost in WWII.
We help people who HAVE information and resources to locate the families of men who were killed in WWII.
We honor our Fathers with Memorial Day wreath layings at Arlington and at American Cemeteries around the world.
We welcome Orphan Memberships as the basis of our existence. We also offer Family and Associate Memberships from those other than sons and daughters, from sponsoring individuals and organizations, from veterans groups, members of the media, and other interested parties.
"My father was just a name among a row of crosses on the edge of the town cemetery. I can't recall anyone speaking of the men those crosses represented as individuals. They were always addressed collectively. The 'Great Silence' was not just a thing my mother subscribed to; the whole war-weary town developed the same habit."
"Now that the 'wall of silence' has been broken, I can deal with my grief openly and help others face their hidden hurt and abandonment. Ann, thank you for your dedication, genuine caring and love in helping us all toward completion and appreciation of our precious gift of life defended so dearly by our fathers." -- Brenda K.
"Since our most wonderful time in Seattle at the Commemoration, I've been searching my mind for the words to express how very meaningful this was. Being with different ones at various times and hearing from their hearts their feelings and sometimes frustrations brought closeness and new friendships. It's amazing how many offers of help were given -- a genuine sign of kinship." -- Val
"My father's death three weeks after my birth in 1945 altered my life forever and contributed to an innate and sometimes confusing state of sadness and loss. I have examined this throughout my life and have realized the source of those feelings was that early loss. Considering the casualty count in WWII and subsequent wars, there must be many of us who understand that myriad of feelings." -- Sharon T.
"It has been almost one year since our first correspondence. Since that time I have received, through your help . . . information about my father's death. I received more than 50 pages of information from one particular source." -- David K.
"I got your return message with my Dad's service number, etc. and I can't tell you what this means to me. I have had so little from him and about him all my life. He was a Yale graduate, and a good man. But I think my family thought that since I was so young when he was killed (4 months old) that they'd leave well enough alone, and not fill my life with memories of him that would just make his loss that much harder for me to understand." -- Rik P.
"I have reflected that when I was born in July of 1943, my father was already stationed overseas. We never lived on the same continent. Our lives overlapped one another's for only fourteen months; the first fourteen months of my life and the last fourteen months of his. While flying on a mission, he was killed in France on September 11, 1944. There are no memories of him for me to cherish, no hopes of ever seeing him in this life, but he remains a beloved part of my life which though gone is always held dear. How good it is to know that he and the other fathers will be remembered as we, the children come forward and join together." Anne O.
If you're considering membership in AWON, Click Here to go to our Membership Page – where you can fill in and submit an online application -- or simply request a free issue of The Star.
Meanwhile, from all of us in AWON –
we're glad to have you here!