GREEN BAY – It was a somber ceremony to honor a veteran nearly 70 years after he died in World War II.
But the remains of Army Air Forces Staff Sergeant David Kittredge of Oneida weren’t found and identified until recently.
On Wednesday, Kittredge was saluted with full military honors.
Hours before the ceremony, Patrick Stordeur shared a quiet moment with the uncle he never knew.
“I woke up this morning, and I thought about it, and today was the big day. It makes me think back, years and years. Now, this day has finally come,” said Stordeur.
Kittredge was shot down on a bombing run in the closing days of World War II. His remains were recently found in Germany. DNA and dental records confirmed the discovery.
“It’s been many years of wondering, and it seems like it’s a relief to see it come to a closure,” said Stordeur.
Friends and family dozens strong, filled the chapel at Nicolet Memorial Gardens Wednesday, for a tribute to Kittredge and his short life of 22 years.
“We’re here to honor that level of commitment that it takes to go and stand and do the things that he did, and to put his own life on the line,” said Mark Goebel, Patriot Guard Riders Assistant State Captain.
The military ceremony continued outside. It was full of tradition, to honor any soldier, to honor every soldier.
This is probably one of the greatest honors that we could ever perform as soldiers. To take care of our fallen brothers, regardless of generation, or era. To provide these services is to the utmost to me and the rest of my team,” said Sgt. Curtis Swearengen, Honor Guard.
And as the flag was carefully wrapped one last time, and presented to the family, Patrick Stordeur knew his uncle was finally home.
“I’m sure my grandparents, and my mother’s brothers and sisters would be very happy today if they were around. It would be a very exciting day for them,” said Stordeur.
Kittredge’s remains will be placed in the Mausoleum near his parents.