EASTON, Pa. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An Air Force pilot from New Jersey who was shot down during the Vietnam War more than four decades ago has been laid to rest in eastern Pennsylvania.
The remains of Maj. Bruce Lawrence of Phillipsburg, N.J., were buried Saturday at the grave of his parents in Raubsville Cemetery in Northampton County’s Williams Township.
“We bring a hero home and honor his service and sacrifice,” Air Force chaplain Capt. Douglas Hess told about 200 people at the service, The (Allentown) Morning Call reported.
The procession to the cemetery led by a dozen motorcycles and more than 20 police and emergency vehicles was greeted by people lining the roads waving American flags. Flags and signs were displayed outside local homes and businesses, and the route included the Raubsville home of Lawrence’s cousin Mark Weidner, who had a large “Welcome home Uncle Bruce” sign in the front yard.
Weidner, who said he remembers sending care packages to Lawrence in Vietnam, said the family was comforted by the outpouring of support.
“To me, this is really great that the Vietnam veterans are getting acknowledged for what they did,” he said.
Williams and his co-pilot were shot down on July 5, 1968, and hostile fire prevented a search for the wreckage, military authorities said. His remains were identified by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Center and arrived in Philadelphia last week from Hawaii.
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