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Passenger on plane captures WWII hero's remains return home

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Nearly 70 years after he went missing in action, the remains of a Springville airman return home. Joe Campanella, a passenger on the flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City captured the moment in photographs.
 (Joe Campanella)
(Joe Campanella)
 (Joe Campanella )
(Joe Campanella )
 (Joe Campanella)
(Joe Campanella)
 (Joe Campanella)
(Joe Campanella)
"I can only imagine how emotional this soldier's family and friends, who came to witness this rare event, must have felt as the fire department created a water arch for the escorted plane to pass through, the military honor guard who were the pallbearers of the flagged coffin, the press, and for the nearly hundred people who came top pay respect for this soldier. "
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Nearly 70 years after he went missing in action, the remains of a Springville airman return home. Joe Campanella, a passenger on the flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City captured the moment in photographs.

Campanella writes in an email to ABC 4 Utah: 

"What an honor! Yesterday, I was on a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City; and when the plane landed, the pilot game on the intercom in and asked us to stay seated. He said that our plane was going to be escorted into the gate by the local police and the fire department, because of WW2 soldier, Lt. Vernal Bird's, remains that were being transported on our plane. 


This soldier's remains recently found had been missing for nearly 69 years in the Philippines after being shot down from his fighter plane. I can only imagine how emotional this soldier's family and friends, who came to witness this rare event, must have felt as the fire department created a water arch for the escorted plane to pass through, the military honor guard who were the pallbearers of the flagged coffin, the press, and for the nearly hundred people who came top pay respect for this soldier. 


As we witnessed the casket being carried off the plane ramp to the hearse, everyone on the plane was quiet, and it made me think of how I would have felt if that were my dad or how my wife would have felt if it were me... It brought tears of pride to many of us and really made me feel so proud of this country for truly honoring those who have served us.

Joe Campanella
Marina del Rey, CA

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