World War II Veteran Finally Buried At Home After 69 Years - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

World War II Veteran Finally Buried At Home After 69 Years

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MANNINGTON -

Hundreds of people came out to Mannington for a military funeral on Sunday.

It was one that not many people have ever been to before.

Sgt. Jerome Kiger's story has spread not only through Marion County, but all over West Virginia.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared Sunday Jerome E. Kiger day and asked that all federal and state flags be flown at half staff to remember the fallen soldier.

"These guys went and left this town at a very young age. He was one of them and wasn't able to come back," said Robert Garcia, Mannington Resident.

Motorcycles, emergency personnel, and law enforcement led Sergeant Jerome Kiger and his family through a sea of American flags and proud Mannington residents.

"There is nothing more important then bringing an individual home that's made it possible for us to do this. To be able to get on our bikes and ride or do whatever else we want to do because we are a free country," said Jonathon Cottrell, Motorcycle Rider.

Sgt. Kiger was killed when his plane was shot down in Germany during World War II.

His remains were missing for 69 years and were finally brought home on Thursday.

"The way it's been happening to us I thought he could get off that plane and come and hug every one of us," said Eva Hinerman, sister. "This I couldn't believe. I could not believe it."

But it was true.

Eva Hinerman's brother was finally home.

"Now that they brought him back, it's very important that all of us get together and welcome him home," Garcia said.

That's exactly what hundreds of Marion County residents came to do.

"I'm here honoring this gentleman because he has helped make our nation what it is today," said Kristopher Hays, Mannington resident.

Sgt. Kiger's military funeral was held exactly 69 years after his plane went down in Germany.

A grave that Hinerman has been visiting for nearly seven decades will finally hold the remains of her brother.

"Never in my life did I think there would ever be anything there. But now he will be there and they will all be together," she said.

Sgt. Kiger was buried will full military honors and Hinerman was presented with her brothers purple heart.

White doves were released and tears were shed as Sgt. Kiger's family said their final goodbyes.

"This is a wonderful closure. At first we went through a grieving process. Now, it's a little bit of a celebration I think we need to have," said Donna Renner, niece.

Sgt. Kiger's family said they can't thank the community enough for the support they have received over the past week.