73 years later, WW II soldier finally laid to rest in Emmett
The funeral service Saturday for World War II soldier, Fred Ashley, seemed to include the entire town of Emmett.
But, for Ashley's surviving family, the biggest consolation for his death in 1945 was just having him home and at peace.
"Fred's mom and dad's wishes are finally coming true today, that Freddy is going to come home,” said Ashley’s great nephew, Mike Hanna. “And, he'll be with them."
After dying in 1945 during World War II, Ashley finally had his remains buried in his hometown of Emmett, more than 70 years after going missing in modern day Czechoslovakia.
"A lot of joy today,” Hanna said “There's some tears. But, I got to believe that most of the tears were shed in 1945, 1946 when Fred's mom and Dad got that letter from the army."
At the time, remains believed to be Ashley’s made their way back to the us.
But, according to Patrick Bitty with the 2nd Calvary’s Association, Ashley's body was mixed up with another’s.
"To learn that he's not recovered, but maybe we can recover him, let’s do some research, it kind of sets a fire in you,” Bitty said. “Like, let's see what we can do to bring this guy home."
Ashley's surviving family, including a niece, nephew and great nephew, worked with the army to bring Ashley back where he belonged.
"We can come to Emmett and visit him and the rest of the family,” Hanna said. “It's great closure."
For Bitty, his part in Ashley's search has inspired him to do more.
"It started with Fred, and we're hoping to keep on going and bring some more home, if we can,” Bitty said.
Bitt added that they are currently looking into three burial sites in the same area Ashley was found, to see if they can connect them back to living relatives.