WWII Soldier Honored, Laid to Rest 69 Years Later
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH, KY - The remains of a Paducah soldier who disappeared during World War II have been brought home and have been laid to rest.

A service was held at 1:00 pm Friday at Lindsey Funeral Home, where Shea Nickell of the Kentucky Court of Appeals sang, "Precious Memories," and offered remarks. He recalled Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, where the President challenged the living to dedicate themselves to the task of honoring the sacrifice of those who fought, by continuing to strive for freedom. Nickell said the same challenge applies to those who remember and honor PFC Carneal, and many others.

"Have we led the good life? Are we good men and women?  Have we lived lives worthy of the sacrificial life and death of PFC Carneal and so many other soldiers?"

Family members spoke, telling Carneal's life story, and expressing their thanks for the support of the community and the U.S. Army. A eulogy was given by Rev. Robert Saywell, who is also a relative.

Following the service, a funeral procession carrying the remains of PFC William T. Carneal made its way down Park Avenue, and out Highway 60 to Metropolis Lake Road, on its way to Palestine Cemetary on Ogden Landing Road.

The procession, led by the Patriot guard on motorcycles and local law enforcement, took about 10 minutes to pass by McNabb Elementary School, where the entire student body stood in silence, holding flags. A teacher said they explained the man's story to the students in the best way they could, and the older kids grasped the situation quickly, but, "for some of these children, 'history' is last week." Explaining World War II was also a challenge for the faculty, but she said all the students understood that this man was a hero and deserved their honor and respect.

Crowds of onlookers were also seen along the road in familiar spots like the Cherry Civic Center and Kentucky Oaks Mall. The procession slowed briefly in front of Heath Elementary and Middle Schools as well.

A crowd of more than a hundred people gathered at Palestine Cemetery, where Carneal was laid to rest with full military honors. The sound of a 21-gun salute and a stirring bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" filled the warm spring air during the graveside service.

Dignitaries from Japan attended, including some who discovered Carneal's remains in Saipan, where he died in fierce fighting in June 1944, at the age of 24. Friday would have been his 94th birthday.

Representatives from Governor Steve Beshear and Senator Mitch McConnell's office attended the funeral, too. Beshear ordered all flags in the Commonwealth be flown at half-staff Friday for PFC William T. Carneal Day.

On the Net:

Full audio of services at Lindsey Funeral Home

Published 03:05 PM, Friday Apr. 25, 2014
Updated 04:19 AM, Sunday Apr. 27, 2014

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