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"And on day 25,424 Private First Class Cecil E. Harris finally came home."

Subdeacon Joe

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WWII soldier missing since 1945 finally comes home



Army Pfc. Cecil E. Harris' platoon came under attack Jan. 2, 1945, in France near the German border during World War II.

Once the smoke cleared, his fellow soldiers noticed the 19-year-old from Shelbyville was missing.

Sixty-eight years later, in 2013, a French national located a possible grave marked by a rock with a crude "H" engraving.

When officials excavated the site, they found Harris' dog tags.

"That was 25,426 days ago," Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Gulley, who served as the family's casualty officer, said Friday. "And on day 25,424 Private First Class Cecil E. Harris finally came home."

Harris was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

"The Lord answered my prayers after 70 years," Harris' widow, Helen Harris Cooke, 90, who was pregnant when Harris went to war, told The Tennessean newspaper.



Welcome home, Pfc. Harris.


Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus

advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,

ut te postremo donarem munere mortis

et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem.

Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum.

Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi,

nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum

tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,

accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,

atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.


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