While we were in Paducah, Kentucky, last week for the quilt show, we happened upon this motorcade (pictured below). We had just walked past a funeral home and noticed the full-sized USA flags lining the street, and wondered what the occasion was.
As we turned the corner, we could see news crews and bystanders looking down the street at the approaching procession. We didn’t know until the next day that we witnessed the remains of William Carneal, missing in action for 70 years, being transported to the funeral home.
Mr. Carneal went missing in Japan in 1944, and his remains were found last year by a Japanese team looking for WWII remains of Japanese soldiers. Thus began the long process of Mr. Carneal’s remains being returned to his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky.
His funeral was three days later, April 25th, the 94th anniversary of his birth. The seven Japanese men who found his remains (complete with class ring, dog tags, pocket knife, and some coins) flew to Paducah to attend his funeral.
I noticed the lead motorcycles had signage indicating they were Patriot Guard Riders (also pictured in the header). According to their web page, they are volunteers whose mission is to ensure dignity and respect at memorial services for fallen military heroes, first responders, and veterans. They certainly were an impressive addition to the procession.