Decades later, remains of Kentuckiana soldiers laid to rest

Radcliff, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

RADCLIFF, KY (WAVE) - On Flag Day 2010, the remains of soldiers from wars as far back as World War I are now at their final resting place at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff.

As Old Glory flapped in the breeze on the hot and humid day, the names of 32 soldiers and nine wives were read with a brief moment of silence. They are finally getting a proper memorial, after a period of uncertainty.

"He was in the Korean War," said Lisa Hutchings, whose father was one of the 32 honored.  "I had a phone call that this gentleman had my father's ashes and I was a little surprised because I didn't know my father's ashes were lost"

Her father, Ronald James Tharp, was among those who were buried at Eastern Cemetery, which closed in 1989 amid numerous violations and later theft. The remains of soldiers that were able to be salvaged, like those of Ollie Dean, were then stored in a warehouse.

"I didn't know that it was vandalized and the remains were scattered everywhere, and these people here went to all that trouble… they are just wonderful," said Ellis Oligies, Dean's brother.

Missing in America is the group who did just that.

"We started looking at these in 2008 and we identified them through the national records center in Saint Louis," said Walt Oster with Missing in America.

A representative from President Obama's office offered a word and an honor from the oval office to the families of the deceased.

"I'm having to bury him for a second time and that's hard, but I'm glad that it turned out like it did and they did such a good job," Hutchings said. "It was a beautiful service and the community... on the way out here... they stood alongside the road and it's just all very emotional."

With that, years and even decades of uncertainty about who these people were and where they have been all this time draws to a close.  They're now officially identified and have a place to call home.

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