Our soldiers do amazing things for this country, despite high risks.
They always put the country before themselves, something we should always be thankful for.
During World War II, many soldiers have fallen to serve our country.
And Battle of Tarawa is one of those battles that resulted in many lost lives, including that of Marine Pfc. Emmet L. Kines, who was only 24-years-old at the time.
Because more than a thousand soldiers died in this battle, they were not given a proper burial. Instead, the bodies were disposed in a mass grave.
Kines was among those who did not return home.
To family’s dismay, in 1949, the military officials officially told the family that his body would be unrecoverable.
However, Betty Huffman, his sister who is now 90-years-old, never lost hope.
She recalled, “He was more than a brother to me. If anything happened, I knew that he would take up for me.”
And, at last, the Kines family finally witnessed the miracle.
This happened recently was made possible because of an amazing non-profit organization called History Flight, which spent more than thirteen years to locate lost graves from WWII. In addition, the members work to identify the bodies, so that they can finally return home.
When Betty heard that her brother was finally coming home, she broke down in tears.
“We were just overwhelmed. THat’s all there was to it. Nobody in the family believed it, but it was a long time waiting. It was good,” said the family.
On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Kines’ body finally made back to West Virginia with military escorts.
Then, his family and friends gathered at the West Virginia National Cemetery to honor his life.
When Betty saw her brother’s flag-draped coffin, she collapsed on top of the coffin – overjoyed that she finally got to see her brother.
And this would not have been possible without History Flight’s relentless work!
Linda Ford Edwards, a member of this group, says that it was “a privilege to be part of honoring a soldier like this.”
She also added, “it really overwhelmed me to think what had actually happened to him, as well as the lengths people went to find him. The people at History Flight had been working for 15 years trying to piece his life back together. The journey from the time he died until we got him right back here in Grafton is unbelievable. But I truly believe it was meant to be.”
I can’t imagine how emotional Kine’s sister must have been – to be finally reunited with her brother after 75 long years..