Soldier from Ballard County laid to rest 60 years after he went - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Soldier from Ballard County laid to rest 60 years after he went missing

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BALLARD COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - After a brutal 17-day battle during the Korean War, a soldier from Ballard County, Kentucky went missing and was later declared dead.

But it wasn't until April 7, 2014, more than 60 years after his death, that Corporal William F. Day was finally laid to rest.

"I am so grateful and thankful that my mother can have this closure while she's still alive, and it can make a difference in her life," said Carrie Rose-Matens, Day's granddaughter.

The funeral services were held at the Ballard Memorial High School. Principal David Meinschein said hosting the funeral was a "surreal" experience for the school.

"He's one of ours," Meinschein said. "He's returning home. He's a son of Ballard County. So the significance is of great important to us."

Corporal Day along with 30,000 United Nations' troops went into battle at the Chosin Reservoir in November of 1950.

They were met by more than twice as many Chinese soldiers.

The elements only added to the danger. At times during the battle, temperatures plummeted to more than 30 degrees below zero.

"The ground was hard. Weapons wouldn't work. Vehicles wouldn't start," said Brigadier General George Petty, Jr. "It's very disturbing, We really got beat up bad. A lot of people lost their lives."

Nearly 3,000 U.S. Forces died in the battle, but the remains of Corporal Day were never recovered.

In the 1990s, North Korea sent hundreds of boxes of remains found near the battle site to an army identification lab in Hawaii.

Then, in February of 2014, with the help of dental records and DNA testing, experts were able to positively identify Corporal Day.

After the service, the remains of Corporal Day were buried next to his mother at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery outside LaCenter.

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