Korean War veteran laid to rest in Monticello

(Provided Photo/WLFI)

MONTICELLO, Ind. (WLFI) — Hundreds came out to pay their last respects to Korean War veteran and Monticello native Sgt. Max Harris.

Harris was declared dead in 1951 after he went missing in action.

His remains were recently recovered by military search teams.

Harris was laid to rest Sunday in his hometown.

“It’s so touching that you know, all the people that want to come and join and be a part of this,” said Sgt. Harris’ nephew Roger McCall. “It’s like part of history; you don’t have people coming back home 67 years later,” McCall continued.

McCall never got to meet his uncle, but he now has peace in his heart knowing his mother has some closure.

“It’s a blessing from God that he was brought back to my mother,” McCall said. “She told me the other day, she said ‘I knew why God kept me around now, I always wondered what the purpose was and now I know.'”

Following the funeral service, a police escorted procession made its way to Harris’ final resting spot at Riverview Cemetery.

Dale Ready, a member of the Indiana Patriot Guard, helped lead the procession.

“There’s nothing that can compare to somebody that’s been missing, one of your brothers for 65 years, and finding him,” said Ready. “The odds are phenomenal, and what an honor it is to be a part of the escort.”

Hundreds came out and lined the route to pay their last respects.

Karen Koekenberg was among the crowd.

“It’s an honor that he’s back home with his family,” Koekenberg said. “You know you are thankful for everybody that goes on the line for us having our freedom.”

She said it’s a blessing that Harris can finally be laid to rest.

“I know it’s taken a long time, but better late than never, and I’m just glad I’m able to be here and show my respect for him,” said Koekenberg.

The kind words and expressions of gratitude of those like Koekenberg mean the world to McCall.

“I can’t say enough words what it means to have all these people come to respect this and honor this,” McCall said.

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