LEOMINSTER, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com/AP) - The remains of a soldier from Leominster killed during the Korean War returned home Wednesday.
After 63 years and seven thousand miles of travel, Pfc. Normal Dufresne arrived in Leominster Wednesday afternoon to a hero's homecoming.
City officials invited residents to line the route from Mechanic Street to Third Street to the Simard Funeral Home on Walker Street.
"It means my parents' prayers have been answered," said Dufresne's nephew Al Guilmette. "For 63 years. It took all this time, but it happened now."
In 1950, at age 20, Dufresne was reported missing in action in Korea. His remains were found in a village in South Korea in 1951. But it wasn't until last year, that scientific advances were able to help identify him.
"Every Memorial Day, every birthday, every holiday, we always pray for him. My mom and dad said the rosary every single day hoping for him to come back," said Claire Weber, Dufresne's sister.
Dufresne received a full color guard at Logan airport and hundreds of emergency officials, veterans, and those just wishing to pay their respects turned out along the processional route.
"It's restored my faith in my government. Because they always said, 'we leave no soldiers behind and he's finally coming home.'" said Weber.
A service at the Leominster Veterans Center is scheduled for Thursday. A white cross that symbolizes Dufresne as missing in action will be retired.
A public wake will be held Friday at Leominster City Hall from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. A full military funeral will be held at St. Cecilia's Church on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations in Norman's name be made to the Leominster Veterans Center, 100 West St., Leominster, MA 01453.
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