Michigan soldier’s remains return home after 68 years

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- The remains of a Korean War veteran have finally returned to Michigan 68 years after he went missing.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Harry Harkness was 22 years old when he went missing in 1950 after being taken as a prisoner of war during and was presumed dead. Thursday, he was welcomed home.

"It is an honor. You can't even explain it. I read the story I spoke with his step daughters yesterday and it's just an honor to be here," says Tony Van Gessel, Ride Captain of Patriot Guard Riders.

The Patriot Guard welcomed Harkness back to Michigan after his remains were recently identified by the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency.

We’re told they had been sitting in a box for nearly 25 years, in the same building where his wife’s grandson worked.

"He said he was shocked but he was relieved, and he was very proud to do what he did and bring him home, bring him back to his final resting place. He was very proud about that," says Gessel.

Harkness married Lois Enghoffer just 15 days before he left for the war.

FOX 17 spoke with Enghoffer’s daughter, who was shocked to hear her mom’s first husband had been identified and would finally be brought home.

“I was very excited. Tears of joy, disbelief. Just disbelief that they really found him.” says Susan McClain.

Her nephew, now a soldier in the Army, was unable to speak with us as he was under military law to stay with Harkness until his transfer to his final resting place. But, Guard Members say bringing him home is a proud moment he won't forget.

"To see his face with us standing there with the flags and the flags on the outside of the gate he said that was very impressive," says Gessel.

The funeral for Harry Harkness will be held this Saturday in Lansing. Family from around the world is said to be there to finally say their goodbyes.

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