They came to a funeral home in Seneca Falls to honor Army Corporal Elmer Kidd. Korean War veterans from throughout the Finger Lakes Region came to pay their respects to their fallen brother.
Kidd joined the military in 1948 while still in high school. He deployed to Korea a year later, then went missing in action during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in 1950.
"In 2012, his family was told that his body was finally found, and 62 years later they are finally able to place Elmer in his final resting place,” said Rev. Leah Ntuala, First Presbyterian Church, Seneca Falls.
"When I heard that he was missing in 1950, that's the beginning of the war, that's a long time. And I just felt I should be here today,” said Vince Caraccilo, a Korean War veteran.
From the funeral home, a procession took Corporal Kidd's remains to Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery, a 120-acre burial ground specifically for veterans overlooking Seneca Lake. Kidd is the 103 veteran to be laid to rest there.
"We share in the grief of this family's loss for over 60 years. But we also rejoice with them today in the recovery of an American hero who has now been returned to the country that he loved and defended.”
"I feel sorry for those who sacrificed their life for us, and I hope that Elmer Kidd is up with the Lord today enjoying what we're doing for him,” said Mike Esposito, a World War II and Korean War veteran.
It was nearly 62 years to the day that Corporal Kidd went missing and it's fitting that his homecoming and burial fall on Veterans’ Day weekend.
"It means a lot obviously to a lot of the Korean Veterans around here. You've seen them here in blue watching. It was like my father was in Korea too looking across them, seeing my uncle, my dad, many of them here so, very patriotic. They don't forget, I hope our nation does not forget," said Larry Stuck, Cpl. Elmer Kidd’s nephew.
Many of those Korean War veterans say Kidd's funeral puts their lives in perspective. One had recently celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary and says he's grateful for his wife, children and grandchildren.
"If I hadn't come back, we wouldn't have any of these people. All but two of them are graduated from college now. I said, 'think about this?' And that's the first time this really struck me and that was 60 years ago. How many would he have had as youngsters if he'd come back,” said Jack Allen, a Korean War veteran.