After more than 70 years, a Northland hero is now home.
A procession made its way from the Twin Cities to Duluth yesterday, carrying the remains of Marine Sergeant James Hubert.
He was a U.S. Marine killed in the Battle of Tarawa in 1943.
Before the taps, before the 21 gun salute, and before Sgt. James Hubert was laid to rest on Saturday, there was almost 80 years of mystery.
"For my brother James and I, our uncle James has always been kind of a story for us," Said Sgt. Hubert's nephew Mark.
For the two nephews, and the sister of Sgt. Hubert, this story is a difficult one.
"It's been bittersweet, as I call it, the whole thing because, it's sad, and yet at the same time it's just wonderful that he's back home after 70 some years," said Sgt. Hubert's sister Mary.
For nearly 8 decades Sergeant Hubert's body was missing after the battle of Tarawa. But on Saturday, the Duluth native was finally given a proper Marine burial.
Sgt. Hubert's nephew Jay said, "Not even in the remotest sense did I ever think this was going to happen."
But it did, and the whole family was their to honor their fallen soldier.
"We have a large family, and the family was all here, so, that was the best part of it," Mary said.
At Calvary Cemetery, behind the tears, the salutes, and all the military traditions, the community, many of whom never knew Duluth's fallen hero, turned out to pay their respects.
Mary said the support was incredible, "A lot of people who introduced themselves to me I had never met before. They just came out because they wanted to honor him, and I thought that was very, very special."
Jay said the days leading up to the burial have been some of the most emotional days of his life.
"I feel like I've cried out all the tears at this point, because it's been a real whirlwind."
Now, the family looks to continue the story of Sgt. James Hubert.
"It's like a reopening of a chapter. We have someplace to come to every memorial day and celebrate," Jay said.
The Family of Sergeant Hubert could not express enough thanks to the History Flight Program, the non-governmental organization responsible for finding Sgt. Hubert.
A link to their organization and what they do can be found here.