GARY, Ind. -- The sister of a co-pilot killed in a plane crash during World
War II saluted as a bugler played "Taps" over her brother's
remains, which were found nearly 60 years after his death.
" It was beautiful," 79-year-old
Delores Taylor said after Monday's funeral for her brother, 1st Lt.
James A. Henderson of the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Henderson was killed in July 1944 when the B-25 bomber on
which he was co-pilot crashed into a mountain in the jungles of Papua New
Guinea. The plane was carrying wounded soldiers to a medical facility.
Their remains were found in the late 1990s, tangled in thick
brush on a steep mountainside in the rusted hulk of the plane, by a Philadelphia
man seeking the site of the crash that killed his uncle.
The military matched DNA from the remains with a sample from
Taylor to confirm Henderson's identity.
Henderson was buried Monday between his parents, who died
without ever knowing what had happened to their son, who was listed as missing
in action for decades.
" His parents just grieved and grieved over him. They
never knew what happened to him," said Emily Tabor, a family friend.
Henderson, who lived with his parents above their beauty salon
in Gary, volunteered for the military on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He left behind a new bride, who
since has remarried.
" He was just a good, clean-cut guy," said James
Bennel, who attended Sunday school with Henderson. "He always
wanted to fly. He was a fine man."
Henderson piloted more than 50 bombing runs in the South Pacific,
earning an Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart and a posthumous
U.S. Army Chaplain Alfred Johnson
called Henderson "a
great soldier who died for all of us. He volunteered to put himself in harm's
way. He died to preserve our freedom," Johnson said.
Other remains, including some of Henderson's, are to be buried
next Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia beneath a monument
to their lost flight.