UP Honor Flight remembers recently found fallen Calumet solider

Published: May. 28, 2018 at 3:23 PM EDT
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Four Vietnam veterans from Calment approached the Vietnam Wall somber of mind, but full of excitement.

Calumet native, Marshall Frederick Kipina missing since 1966, has finally been accounted for.

"To come down on the Honor Flight at this time, it is so special for us," said Oscar Niemela. "They found his remains after 52 years and it is just amazing. It's bone chilling."

According to an April article by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Calumet native Kipina's remains were found in the country of Laos.

"Closure is here," said Niemela. "Some of us knew him, some of us didn’t, but Marshall was our fallen that was never forgotten and is now home."

Before the Honor Flight, his graduating class of 1964 gave mementos for the veterans to place at the Vietnam memorial by his name.

"Welcome home Marshall, we are glad you are back, we are glad we are back."

Other Honor Flight veterans used their tour to Arlington Cemetery to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Memorial day on a normal pace is just like normal family, but when you come to a place like this, it’s just astronomical how many and how big the family is and how many people have passed while serving," said Robert Voght, a Vietnam veteran.

As the 79 veterans watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, they remember and honor those who have fallen.

"You can see the people that gave their lives and not just during the Vietnam War, the Korean War, but the first World War, second World War," said Voght. "Freedom is not free and this is what Memorial Day is all about."