FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – After more than 70 years, a United States Marine finally made it back home to Florence.
A Japanese sniper killed Sgt. John Charlton Holladay in 1943. However, on Monday his family finally got the chance to give him a proper burial.
Many across the area attended Holladay’s ceremony to recognize the once lost soldier. His family was at Charleston International Airport to receive his remains Friday.
Holladay was U.S. Marine during World War II, but after his death bombing runs would destroy the temporary grave he was buried in.
Last year, workers in the Solomon Islands found his remains in the jungle and through a DNA testing connected this missing marine back with his family.
“A year or so ago when this process started you know you kind of think that it’s not going to pan out. He turns out that he was the guy that our family always told us he was,” said Charles Holladay, Holladay’s nephew.
What took 73 years, the feeling of coming home is bittersweet for his family.
“A little sadness in that a lot of folks for whom this would be the best closure due to the passage of time are no longer with us, but otherwise it has been quite exciting,” Holladay mentioned.
Sgt. Holladay would have been 104-years-old on Monday. His family says they will take the time to now relax.