SCRANTON, Pa. -- Just past 9 p.m Thursday night, 74 years to the day that Willard 'Bud' Jenkins was declared missing in action in World War II, he was returned home to Scranton.
"You think about it, it's 74 years and now he's finally back on U.S. soil where he belongs with his family and it's just amazing," said Dave Eisely, Director of Lackawanna County Veterans Affairs.
Until now Jenkins' remains lay buried in an unmarked grave in the Netherlands unable to be identified until this summer when the Army was finally able to get a positive match through DNA from his sister, Edna.
"In July they called me they said, 'We want you to know we have your brothers remains,' I said 'What?' They said, 'Yes it's a perfect match.' All I know is it's exciting and it's sad to have him back again," said Edna Jenkins.
"It's more of a miracle than unusual. It's great that we were able to identify Bud through his remains and bring him home and have that closure for the family," said Sgt. Norman Green.
His remains were flown to Newark Liberty International Airport then escorted by local and state police as well as military personnel to Edward J. Chomko Funeral Home along Railroad Avenue in Scranton.
"I want you to cry, I feel like you want to cry, well that's how I feel. It was very touching at the airport and everything," said Edna Jenkins.
Then a moment Edna waited nearly a lifetime for, she was given her brother's dog tags.
A memorial service will be held next Wednesday to honor his service and sacrifice.