A Long-Awaited Home-Coming

Bronze Star Medal; Decoration of the U.S. Military

Bronze Star Medal; Decoration of the U.S. Military (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clara Gantt, the 94-year-old widow of U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Gantt, weeps in front of her her husband's casket after it was lowered from the plane, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 in Los Angeles. Sixty-three years after Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph E. Gantt went missing in action during the Korean War, his remains were returned to his 94-year-old widow in a solemn ceremony at Los Angeles International Airport before dawn Friday. Photo: Andrew Renneisen, AP / Pool. Los Angeles Times

Photo: Andrew Renneisen, AP

It took 63 years, but it is finally going to happen! It is a special day indeed. Today, Army Sgt. 1st Class Joseph E. Gantt will be ‘going home’… at least his remains will be placed in their final resting place, as he is buried in Inglewood, California with full military honors.

This soldier was reported ‘missing in action’ in 1950, while serving in the Korean War. In 1953, it had been reported that he had been injured in battle and taken as a prisoner of war, after Chinese forces captured him — he had reportedly died of malnutrition and a lack of medical care in a POW camp in early 1951. The story is a heart-breaking and tragic end for the soldier and the soldier’s young bride-turned-widow.

His 94-year-old widow Clara never gave up hope that his remains would someday make it back home, to her. She said she felt especially blessed and happy to be living to see this day…blessed to be here to accept the remains of her beloved husband after more than six decades of faithful waiting.

 She never remarried, though his wish was for her to do so if anything were to happen to him. “I told him no, no, no. Here I am, still his wife,” she told reporters. (LOS ANGELES (AP) – 12/20/2013)

He had joined the Army in 1942 and served in the South Pacific during WWII. He married Clara in 1948. He was then sent on to Korea as a field medic. Gantt was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, a Purple Heart and other honors.

Morguie and I were overwhelmed with emotion, looking at the picture of the tiny widow overcome with tears as her husband’s flag-draped casket was carried from a jet-liner by military honor guard.

The tiny widow wept as she stood in front of the casket. We supposed they must have been tears of joy, tears of grief, tears of relief; tears of gratitude to be here to witness this long-awaited homecoming. Tears of love. We felt a profound sense of loss for the widow…all the hopes, dreams, and plans that were never to be realized. All of those years she spent alone, loving the only man who would capture her heart and her unfaltering devotion. It really tugged at our heartstrings.

We concluded that miracles do happen. This miracle was for her.

 Army Sgt. 1st Class. Gantt, thank you for your duty, service, your great sacrifice. It shall not be forgotten.


May he rest in peace… at last.  His loving wife, has without a doubt, now found her peace, too.

Thank you, God.

©2013, C.S. Thompson.

(Photographs credited to Associated Press articles.)

English: Purple Heart decoration in presentati...

English: Purple Heart decoration in presentation case, awarded to a United States Army soldier in World War II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8 Responses to “A Long-Awaited Home-Coming”

  1. What a heartwarming and yet sad story, thank you for sharing! I think of how I still weep for my husband who died almost 24 yrs ago, even though I am happily remarried. I can’t imagine the emotion that must have overwhelmed her!! So glad that his remains were returned as that is so important for those who have lost a loved one…


    • As you are aware, grief certainly does become complicated when a death has occurred, such as in this case…where there is no remains to lay to rest. It is a matter of unfinished business of a great importance to those who must accept that the death has happened and is REAL. Murder victims, missing people, and unrecoverable remains (think WTC victims) leave such a special burden with unanswered questions, lingering doubts, etc. When our fallen soldiers come back from the field, they are casketed…even if there may be only a dog-tag and a partial remains. The visual symbol of that casket sets the psychological wheels into motion, preparing the family to accept the reality that “YES, this death HAS happened. This is real.”


      • So true, the visual markings serve as a place to take your grief. A casket, an urn, the cemetery, the side of the road where the accident happened – all become so symbolic to the bereaved and allow for reality to sink in…


  2. Hi CJ,
    An award for you (should you choose to accept it – won’t be upset if you don’t). Thanks for being part of my wordpress family. 🙂


  3. Such a sad story. Is it known how his remains were found or where even? Maybe the Chinese recorded the burial of his body and passed the information over.
    xxx Hugs and welcome back. Hope you feel better xxx


    • The news service reported that..’ his remains were only recently identified…information on when they were found was not immediately available from the missing personnel office…according to the Dept. of Defense, modern technology allows identifications to continue to be made from remains turned over by No. Korea or recovered from that nation by American teams..’. So David, your guess is as good as mine. I hope that one of my other readers, Gpcox, perhaps, might be able to answer the question for us. WHERE HAVE REMAINS BEEN ALL THESE YEARS? Would they have been in some sort of warehouse storage or cemetery setting in unmarked plots? Hugs…xxxx CJ and Morguie xxxx



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