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Summerville student pens heartfelt essay honoring grandfather, war veteran

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) -

Olivia Sisson has never met her grandfather, Air Force Major, and Vietnam War veteran Thomas T. Hart.

She's not alone. Her mother Hillary never met her father, yet both can tell you his story line by line.

Forty years ago, Hart's story, and that of his wife Anne, was featured in People magazine. Major Thomas T.Hart was listed as a prisoner of war, missing in action, and his body was never found.

"They actually did a story on my mom, and her fight to find out what happened to my dad," said Hillary Sisson, now a 5th grade teacher at Beech Hill Elementary in Summerville.

Her mother, Anne, rented a Winnebago, filled with all five of her siblings, and protested in front of the White House in search of answers regarding her husband's disappearance. 

Hillary was three at the time.

"Until I got older and realized people don't generally picket the White House in a Winnebago," Hillary said.

It's a story that's been revived through the eyes of her 10-year-old daughter Olivia.  

The 5th grader wrote an essay, entitled "Honored," after visiting the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial which bore her grandfather's name.

"It was pretty inspiring to know that somebody went and tried to fight for what they thought was right," she said.

Olivia read her essay before hundreds at Beech Hill Elementary Tuesday at a school assembly honoring veterans across the Lowcountry.

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