NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After spending more than half a century not knowing where their loved one was or what happened to him, a Kentucky family finally has closure.
Private First Class Anthony Massey, Jr., disappeared after being captured during the Korean War in 1950. Last December, his remains were found overseas.
Massey’s remains were returned home for a full military burial Thursday morning.
It was a long three-hour drive for family members from Kentucky to Nashville, but not as long as the 64-year wait to bring Massey home.
“When I see the coffin, it will kind of upset me a little bit. But I’m ready,” said Lennie Simmons, Massey’s aunt.
Simmons’ nephew was a prisoner of war during the Korean War.
“I have got a letter telling me he died of starvation in a prison camp,” she said.
The family lost contact with the young soldier the week after Thanksgiving in 1950.
“They were giving names out on the radio of prisoners that had got killed and they called his name,” Simmons said. “And my sister was just so devastated.”
Massey’s remains were only identified late last year, so his mother didn’t live to see this day. She died in 1979.
Cousins came out to salute the man they called the family jokester and a brave soldier.
“I grew up with my mother’s sister, living this story my whole life,” said Kenneth Duffy, Massey’s cousin. “And I always felt like I knew him.”
The family was back together as soldiers slowly removed the flag-draped casket from a planet. Massey’s aunt and cousins looked on and soaked in the moment that had been such a long time coming.
“At first, I was really sad,” Simmons said. “I had to get myself together, but now I am ready. I got closure and I just thank God every day.”
The family will hold a funeral service for Massey on Saturday afternoon in Mayfield, KY. He will be laid to rest next to his mother in Oakcrest Cemetery.