Arkansan and WWII veteran laid to rest after 77 years

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KWNWA/KFTA) – After 77 years, Arkansan and World War II veteran Lt. Henry Donald Mitchell has been found laid to rest at Fayetteville National Cemetery. 

Lt. Mitchell’s 90-year-old Brother, Bob Mitchell, set out on a mission to recover his brother almost 50 years ago, and today was a day he wasn’t sure if he’d ever get to see. 

“Good, It’s a dream come true. Welcome home, brother, welcome home,” says Mitchell. 

Mitchell was only 14 years old when his brother’s U.S. Airforce P-38 went down over Austria in 1944. 

Lt. Mitchell’s remains were uncovered on a farm earlier last month after extensive searching by his brother, Senator John Boozman, Congressman Steve Womack, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson. 

“This is history; today was history. The saying never give up, never forgotten is true; we never forget our veterans, we never give up looking for them,” says Jannie Layne. 

Several retired service members at the service said this was a moment in history they were not going to miss. 

“It means a lot. I’m here representing one WWII vet today, and we’re here representing those who didn’t get to have that wonderful life,” says retired Lt. Colonel USAF Dave Bowman.

But Mitchell can’t help but think about the family members who didn’t live to see the day.

“Oh my gosh, there is no telling, they would be excited just like me,” said Mitchell. 

Mitchell says he was honored when the governor announced flags would be flown at half-mast Tuesday to remember his brother. 

Definitely a special day for the Mitchell family and one that his brother says he will cherish for the rest of his life. 

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