WACO, Texas (KWTX) One man and woman in Central Texas have a love story like no other.
Bart and Lynn Smith exchange wedding vows on November 11, 2017
We've told you their tale in bits and pieces.
But now they have their storybook ending.
Bart and Lynn Smith tied the knot Saturday and we held the wedding at our KWTX studios in Studio B, the same place where their flame was reignited after decades apart.
It was a moment some 50 years in the making, the marriage of two people very much in love witnessed by family and friends.
But three unseen guests have brought Bart and Lynn to this point, tragedy, time, and fate.
It began like most small town romances, a handsome football player and beautiful girl met as teens in Michigan.
"He was very good looking, blonde hair blue eyes, a girl's dream, can't pass it up," Lynn said.
Bart told us, "I meet her in Port Huron at my grandmother's place. I meet her when I was 14 and we just kind of hit it off from the very beginning. "
They were high school sweethearts but by December 1966 Uncle Sam sent Bart to Vietnam.
"I was worried, constantly wondering and I did receive a tape from him, that little cassette type tape that I played over and over just to hear his voice," Lynn told us.
But enemy attacks left Bart with devastating injuries.
It was the beginning of this couple's tragedy.
"I was wounded and sent to the Philadelphia Naval hospital. I couldn't focus on life I got hit in the head with a round," he explained.
He was dealing with a painful recovery but survived.
Barely in their twenties Bart and Lynn were married, but it wasn't long before the effects of combat revealed themselves, and took their toll on the young couple.
Lynn said, "he had combat fatigue, combat reactions and nightmares. I thought the only way to make him happy would be to leave so he could go on to do whatever he wanted to do and maybe he could find somebody to make him happy."
They were divorced.
Bart remarried and eventually had children, while still struggling with the effects of PTSD.
He was eventually divorced a second time.
But after being part of our documentary We Can't Forget Vietnam in 2015, old feelings resurfaced.
And with the help of his close friend Bill Mahon he reached out to Lynn.
She was ecstatic.
"When he started talking more I realized I recognized his voice and when he said my name I couldn't believe it is him. It really is him," she explained.
Nearly 45 years since they parted ways, they were finally reunited.
We told their story in our documentary From the Ashes of Vietnam, and the next chapter came Saturday.
And kinds words from close friends help them start this journey.
During the ceremony Bill Mahon said, "the war's over, everything's done, everything's cold. But there were two embers buried in the piles of destruction, and we've got them here today, let's start that fire."
Veteran Robert Carter officiated.
After saying I do and exchanging rings, he pronounced them husband and wife.
Lynn's twin sisters Martha DeLorenzo and Donna Zheltonoga always knew this day would come.
"Yes, yes we did, we dreamed of it long before it ever started happening," Martha said, "they loved each other so deeply, they should be together."
During the reception Mahon told us, "I've heart it called a Cinderella story, I've heard it called magic. But it's not magic, it's love. And when love is true from the heart, nothIng magic about it. Everything the two of them put together and work on together, that will be the magic. ">
Bart told us, "there are not the words I can say for Bill Mahon."
Lynn continued, "we can't express enough, he's the instrument that brought us together again."
And they have advice for young couples struggling with the complications of marriage
"Get help. Have someone give them guidance that we did not seek out and it would change their future, whereas we lost it and we've been apart for so long and we grew up so late, that we shouldn't have given up," Lynn said.
And Bart hopes spouses get counseling to deal with the challenges of military service.
But this is a time to look forward and celebrate.
And now life is their honeymoon.
"We bought a new home in West," Bart said.
Lynn told us, "we just want to settle in together."