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Fallen Marine returns home to Mississippi 73 years later

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi family was finally reunited with their loved one who died 73 years ago fighting in World War II.

Private First Class James Samuel Smith of Liberty, Mississippi, joined the Marines when he was 18 and died in battle two years later, WJTV reported.

His remains were missing for decades, until 2012 when his body and those of other Marines were found on a small South Pacific island.

The Marine Corps used Smith’s nephew’s DNA to identify his body.

Smith’s family and members of the Patriot Guard escorted him home to Liberty from Jackson-Evers International Airport.

Family will hold a funeral for him Monday.

“As a kid, we never knew much about this. I was born when he died,” Carey Smith told WJTV. “The grandparents, they worried, they never knew. I got more information now than they ever had until they died.”