The family of a long-deceased American soldier, Lexie Lee Lillard, received not just one but many medals last Wednesday at Jay, Kentucky for his service during World War II. In addition to the Purple Heart, others included the Bronze Star, POW medal, good conduct medal, and the American Defense Service Medal.
The medals were accepted by Gloria Lowry, Lillard’s younger sister. Lillard was killed in the Philippines.
His bones have been on foreign soil for over 70 years, said spokesperson Turner Hopkins of American Legion Post 195, during the ceremonial event on the steps of the Delaware County Courthouse.
Lillard was 17 when he enlisted in the army.
Mary McQuoid, Lillard’s niece-in-law, said following the ceremony, that the family was told, earlier this year, that the remains thought to be his, were discovered in a mass grave.
It was so large, they had to remove the remains in segments, she said. The family has provided DNA samples for analysis, Tulsa World reported.
When his remains have been positively identified, they plan to bring them back for burial close to Old Eucha Lake at the family property. Lillard’s date of death isn’t known. Calloway County, Kentucky, is where he was born and raised.
A partial debt is being repaid that can’t be done fully, said Hopkins of the sacrifice made by Lillard.