CRAMERTON, N.C. - A Korean War soldier whose remains were unidentified for nearly 70 years was finally laid to rest in his hometown over the weekend.
"Part of me was gone and it stayed gone 68 years, 9 months and 11 days,” said Howard Duncan, the younger brother of the lost soldier.
Corporal Earl Duncan was killed in the Korean War, reported missing on Dec. 2, 1950 during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Now, after decades of wondering, his family has found some peace as Duncan was brought home to be buried in Gaston County.
"It's mind-boggling to think that your son, your brother is missing all those years. You don't know what, where, anything," one of the funeral attendees told FOX 46.
Decades of not knowing left a deep void for the family.
“My faith was kind of waning,” Earl's brother Samuel Duncan said. “The whole family has been waiting for this for nearly a lifetime."
Then in 2018, their prayers were answered following a summit with President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un. The North Korean leader fulfilled a promise and sent home the remains of American service members that have been in North Korea for all those years. His remains were officially identified using DNA on Sep. 11.
"He was still missing in action until his remains were recovered and they knew that was Corporal Earl Duncan," funeral attendee Katherine said.
More than 1,000 soldiers remain missing in action in North Carolina alone. IN the last 60 days, Duncan is one of three to come back home.
"The pain is in not knowing where their loved one is, so to have one repatriated after 68 years, we are just ecstatic," Katherine said.
The American flag flew high for the Corporal as his family said their last goodbyes. Many in the community say this was not just for those who knew Corporal Duncan, it's also about those who respect the sacrifice he made.
"They paid their price, we're trying to repay them."
MORE FROM FOX 46