American soldiers sacrifice immensely to keep us safe — this has been consistent throughout our nation’s history.
They risk life and limb to fight for our freedom, and bravely face the prospect of danger, injury, or even death.
Millions of U.S. soldiers put their life on the line to protect the country during WWII, like this sweet veteran did.
Sadly, hundreds of thousands did not come back alive, like many of the soldiers present at the grizzly Battle of Tarawa, who were killed and disposed of in shallow graves.
But thanks to the amazing efforts of the nonprofit History Flight, these soldiers are slowly being recovered and sent back to their homes in the States for a proper burial.
One if them was Emmett L. Kines, who was only 24 when he was killed in battle.
Fortunately, he has been returned to his home in West Virginia, back to the family that thought his body was gone forever.
Check below to learn more about this amazing service.
Courtesy of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
Marine Pfc. Emmett L. Kines was only 24 years old when he was killed in WWII, nearly 75 years ago.
After fighting in the gruesome Battle of Tarawa, he and a thousand other soldiers who lost their lives were hastily disposed of in a mass grave.
Though Military officials declared his body unrecoverable in 1949, the amazing Florida-based nonprofit History Flight located it, along with 34 other marines on the island.
They predict that there are a minimum of 43 temporary burial sites around the island with up to hundreds of soldiers in each.
History Flight has spent over 13 years locating lost graves from WWII and identifying the bodies so they can be flown to their homes for a proper burial.
To date, they have identified hundreds of MIAs and hope to reunite many more with their families.
On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Kines’ remains were returned to West Virgina with police and military escorts.
His family members — including his only remaining sibling, 90-year-old Betty Huffman — were there to receive him and lay him to rest.
“Being a Marine was something he always wanted to do,” Huffman told the Mountain Statesman.
“I was with him all the time. I was closer to him than anyone else. Being on the farm with him were the happiest days of my life.”
In a way, Kines being brought home helps close an unhealed wound in his family
Histroy Flight founder Mark Noah revels in stories like Kines’ that show the positive impact that the nonprofit has on American families.
“Every time one of these men goes home is just wonderful. I like to tell people it’s like putting a little bit of America back into America,” he said.
“It’s important to give closure to the family, and to also restore the dignity of the missing individual. So we are very pleased that Emmett Kines is back where he belongs.” he explained.
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