WWII veteran laid to rest 75 years after dying in battle

Posted at 10:58 PM, May 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-27 22:58:13-04

NEENAH, WI (WLUK/CNN) - The sound of gunfire coming from Oakhill Cemetery in Neenah, WI, welcomed home Marine Sergeant Elden Grimm.

The Menasha native received full military honors as his body was finally laid to rest 75 years after he died in battle during World War II.

Grimm's closest living relative, his niece Margaret Kersten, was presented with the flag that draped the coffin by Captain Nicholas Pecoraro.

“It's amazing, it's amazing. It's something new for me. It's my first time doing a repatriation for a Marine from WWII. It's an honor," Pecoraro said.

The Kersten family didn't know the Grimms. Grimm’s mother died when they were young.

But the family bond and dedication to service still gets them emotional.

"When you think about it, he was 24 years old. It’s hard to think about. Twenty-four years old, he gave mom a hug and walked out the door. And for 75 years, he didn't come back. We got to get him home," Grimm’s nephew-in-law Gerard Kersten said.

The tombstone of Grimm’s mother makes it clear that this is where he belongs.

People from around Wisconsin and local veterans gathered in Neenah to say goodbye to a man they never knew.

It was way to pay tribute to the many people who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Grimm's name has always been on a memorial at Oak Hill Cemetery, but now he's finally home.

Grimm's remains were only positively identified last year using the DNA of his niece.

Copyright 2018 WLUK via CNN. All rights reserved.