Chicago Widow Gets Surprise From Europe: Husband's WWII Army Bag

Steve Miller
June 30, 2020 - 8:45 pm
Bonsonto Duffel Bag

The duffel bag that once belonged to Gerald Bonsonto (image courtesy: Bonsonto family)


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It was almost a year ago that WBBM Newsradio told the story of a woman in Little Italy who shared her personal connection to World War II with the rest of the world. Now, in a sense, she has received something in return.

In just over a week, Aida Bonsonto will be 98.

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A year ago she decided to lend her wedding dress to a military museum.  

It wasn’t just any dress: Her late husband Gerald had been a paratrooper in World War II and sent her a parachute so she could make a dress for their wedding in Chicago, June 8, 1946.

The story about her dress going to a museum made some headlines around the world.  

Fairly recently, a man in Europe was Googling the name Bonsonto because he had bought a khaki duffel bag at a garage sale, and on the outside was the name Gerald Bonsonto.

He came across the wedding dress story and contacted Aida Bonsonto’s niece.

She got her husband’s Army duffel bag on the day before Mother’s Day.  

Not only does it bear Bonsonto’s name, but his serial number.

“I had memorized it from the time he entered the service, and I made sure I’d remember his serial number.  And it was 36629179. I could never forget it — never.”

AIda said she would like to talk to the man in Europe to thank him. She believes the bag must have been lost when her husband was hospitalized after being shot in 1944.

(U.S. Army)