A U.S. soldier who fought in WWII, died and was buried with the enemy is coming back to America Friday where he will receive a proper funeral service and transport to his birthplace in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Pfc. Lawrence S. Gordon is en route to a small Wisconsin town, where “A horse-drawn funeral hearse is scheduled to deliver [his] remains … to a VFW Post at 1:20 p.m., at the close of a noon hour public reception, also at the post,” Stripes.com reports.
Pfc. Gordon will be buried on the 70th anniversary of his death in Saskatchewan.
[T]he German War Graves Commission and the French government granted permission late last year for DNA to be extracted from the remains of German Unknown X-356 at the German ossuary in France and compared to DNA in saliva from Gordon’s eight nephews.
The DNA Sequencing Facility at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Biotechnology Center analyzed the DNA, along with a private lab on the east coast, and concluded it belonged to Gordon. Forensic scientists in Madison in June examined the skeletal remains of the soldier for further forensic evidence when Gordon was brought back by his family from the German ossuary in France to U.S soil.
The identification of Gordon through efforts of civilian researchers and DNA sequencing facilities at UW-Madison and in Virginia could be a template for how civilians and DNA analysis can expedite the identification of WWII soldier remains — a politically charged process that has been painstakingly slow and costly for the U.S. government.
After all these years, numerous letters Gordon’s grieving mother wrote looking for answers, family wondering where he was, how he died and pledging to find him — this soldier is finally coming home.