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Sgt. Raeymacker finishes his journey

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Family gathered to lay the headstone for fallen soldier Sgt. Gerald Raeymacker Friday at Willowbrook Cemetery. Pictured left to right are Martha Kloecker, Roman Kloecker, Cindy Briggs, Donald Briggs, Caroline Briggs, Linda Kepler, Steve Cooley, Darlene Cooley and SFC. WIlliam Shepard.

“Amazing Grace” rang out over Willowbrook Cemetery Friday in a final honor given to Sgt. Gerald Raeymacker.

“I think it’s all fitting that we’re here today, the day before we celebrate our Independence Day and to look at Sgt. Raeymacker and the sacrifice that he has given along with all the other flags in this cemetery,” SFC. William Shepard said. “We thank him for his service and the sacrifice that he and his family made.”

Gathered family looked pensively on the simple headstone laid for the fallen young man who lost his life in the Korean War in 1950.

Moments before he died, Raeymacker was scurrying on the battlefields, helping a wounded friend to safety in North Korea. He died in a hailstorm of bullets and was buried under a nearby haystack. It wasn’t until nearly 70 years later that his remains would be returned to American soil.

The family laid him to rest finally in October of 2019 and the headstone was the last piece needed to make hi homecoming complete.

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Donald Briggs, brother of Gerald Raeymacker and SFC. William Shepard stand with the newly laid headstone for Sgt. Raeymacker Friday at Willowbrook Cemetery.

“It’s wonderful to finally finish this journey with you,” Shepard said.

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