WWII soldier identified 79 years after disappearance brought to final resting place in Killeen
Army Private Myron E. Williams was declared unrecoverable in 1951, through DNA testing his remains were identified more than 70 years later
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The remains of a World War II soldier was honored and laid to rest at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery Friday, more than 70 years after he was last seen alive.
His legacy was honored with all the bells and whistles of hero deserves. Army Pvt. Myron E. Williams arrived in a horse-drawn carriage and was met by six soldiers who carried him to his place of honor.
Private Williams and his unit were fighting Germany in 1944, when he was reported Missing in Action at the age of 29. His body went unrecovered and was not reported as a Prisoner of War.
A year later in 1945, the War Department issued a presumptive finding of death for Williams. By 1951, he was declared non-recoverable.
Flash forward 70 years, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified his remains through different DNA analyses.
Tony Dale, the Executive Secretary of the Texas Veterans Land Board says it’s important that we honor all of our heroes, no matter how much time has passed.
“This soldier was MIA for so many years, is officially now killed in action and identified. And what we participated in here today was the actual funeral ceremony for a World War II soldier as if he was identified in 1944. So it is one of the most meaningful things I’ve done in my public career to witness something like this,” Dale says.
Williams’ family, who know him fondly as uncle Elton, have finally been able to lay him to rest and they were on the front row to remember his sacrifices on the front lines.
“All the words aren’t coming to mind, but I have all the emotions,” Dianne Mangum, Pvt. Williams’ niece says.
Those emotions were shared by other veterans and complete strangers who were in attendance.
“Elton gave his life for this country and boy it warms my heart the way they show respect. And they didn’t even know him, he’s my uncle, they didn’t even know him and they’re out here to show respect,” says James Reid, Private Williams’ nephew, while fighting tears.
That sentiment touching more than kin, “It is one of the most meaningful things I’ve done in my public career to witness something like this,” Dale expresses.
And it is a day that his family will talk about for generations to come.
“Every motion of all those young men in uniform, lockstep was just beautiful. The 21 gun salute, they clearly care about people like Elton,” Reid says.
Uncle Elton wasn’t mentioned much to them growing up, but his story is stronger in his family today.
“I think the pain continued until now. the pain is gone, because we can be joyous... He is home,” Mangum says with a huge smile.
And now his legacy and sacrifices will live on forever.
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