Korean War soldier laid to rest in Belvidere, 70 years after he went missing
A Korean War soldier from Illinois is laid to rest Thursday in Belvidere, more than 70 years after he went missing, and was killed in a prisoner of war camp.
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Arthur Zoellick says he is still at a loss for words since he learned a few weeks ago that the remains of his uncle, Army Corporal William Zoellick, were identified.
“It was, like I say, it was mind-blowing almost, I still don’t know how to react,” said Arthur. “I am very fortunate to be here to help him, I mean I was three years old when he passed away.”
William was just 18 years old and serving in the Korean War in 1950, when he was reporter missing in action. Three years later, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces announced he had died in a prisoner of war camp.
“All his brothers are deceased already, so,” said Arthur. But while Arthur’s father and uncles aren’t here to lay William to rest, the Belvidere community is. Thursday, veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and students across eleven schools paid their respects.
“As Americans, we are obligated to honor our war heroes,” said Rolling Thunder Board Chairman Wayne Kirkpatrick.
As the chairman of the veterans group, Rolling Thunder, Wayne Kirkpatrick says he wishes he could bring more missing soldiers home. William is just one of the more than 81,500 American soldiers still missing from war.
“We need to keep our government looking, so we can bring the remains back to those poor families who are still looking,” said Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick says Arthur is proof of how much it means to give a peaceful goodbye.
“Never give up, on finding a loved one,” said Arthur.
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