By Isis Simpson-Mersha, MLive.com
After missing for 70 years, the remains of Korean War Veteran Dale W. Wright were interred at the Great Lakes National Cemetery.
Linda Stover, 75, Wright’s half-sister and last remaining direct relative along with Stover’s children, some grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present on Monday, Aug. 23 at the morning service to inter the remains at Great Lakes National Cemetery, 4200 Belford Road, in Holly Township.
As part of the ceremony to inter Wright’s remains at one of the cemetery’s committal shelters, a rifle foley took place. When the gunshots ceased, silence flooded in for the remainder of the time. The mowing of grass at the site could be heard in the distance and buzzing from insects surrounding a nearby body of water.
Wright’s remains were found in April 2020, after going missing in the Korean War in 1950 but COVID-19 delayed plans to have a ceremony. The waiting period, though, seemed to work in the family’s favor as the date of the ceremony is also the date of Stover and Wright’s mother, Eleanor Andres.
Stover said she got a phone call from the U.S. Army, which informed her that her DNA matched her brother’s remains from DNA that was taken 17 years ago.
“It was such an emotional thing because I really didn’t believe they were ever going to find my brother in my lifetime, because I’m 75,” Stover explained.
Stover, who was just four years old when Wright went into service, doesn’t have many memories of her older brother as she was just four years old when he died, but she recalled playing in the yard with him along with a black puppy.
Stover’s mother never gave up on hope, and always thought her son was still alive.
“She just never gave up that he was still alive because they never found him, so he still could have been in POW camp or whatever,” Stover said. “She just didn’t give up.”
When Stover was 17 years old, her mother died of cancer in 1963.
Stover, a mother to three children, said she couldn’t imagine the pain her mother must’ve felt losing a child.
Wright was just 19 years old when he died in the Korean War in 1950.
The remains of Wright were discovered when North Korea turned them over on July 27, 2018.
North Korea turned over 55 boxes that were assumed to contain remains of American Korean War veterans after Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un met with then-President Donald Trump in June 2018.
Wright’s remains were identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency on April 23, 2020 using DNA analysis and circumstantial evidence.
Wright’s unit was attacked near the Chosin Reservoir in the northeast of North Korea on Dec. 2, 1950.
The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir was an impactful two-week stretch in the war where American and United Nations troops fought and escaped an outnumbering Chinese attack.
The Flint veteran was a corporal of Company C, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division.
He was lost during the evacuation from Sinhung-ni to Hagaru-ri in North Korea, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Wright’s name is one of many recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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