MARTINSVILLE (WSLS10) – The remains of a Korean War soldier from Martinsville are back home after nearly 70 years.
The remains arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina just after noon Thursday and members from Ft. Bragg performed a short ceremony at the airport as the casket was loaded into the hearse.
A convoy of law enforcement and Rolling Thunder motorcycle riders then escorted the remains back to Martinsville.
Around 1:30 Thursday afternoon, the more than a dozen law enforcement officers and rolling thunder motorcycle riders arrived in Martinsville with the remains of Sargent First Class Raymond McMillian.
When the motorcade arrived at the funeral home, the honor guard from Ft. Lee was there to carry the casket inside.
“It’s just a glorious day. Even the weather’s cooperated. So many people have shown so much respect along the way, the route from Greensboro to here. The traffic just stopped for miles,” Patsy Roach, a first cousin of McMillian, said.
“Most of us being Vietnam vets, it’s very emotional,” said Rolling Thunder rider Jim Tennand, referring to how it felt escorting the remains back to Martinsville. “It’s time for us to share our tears now for those coming home.”
McMillian was a medic and became a prisoner of war in 1951. Three years later, he was declared killed in action.
It wasn’t until 2007 that his remains were positively identified.
The military worked for the almost 10 years since to collect the entire skeleton, culminating with the remains being brought back to Martinsville.
Martinsville’s mayor, Danny Turner, says he was pleased to see all of the people that were at the airport in Greensboro and who participated in escorting the remains back.
“The airport security said the last veteran that came in only had two people waiting for him. We made sure that didn’t happen…I feel like that’s something that Sargent McMillian deserves,” Mayor Turner said.
A small gesture for a man who made such a huge sacrifice.