CLEVELAND — It was a touching and fitting tribute nearly eight decades in the making.
The remains of World War II Lieutenant James Lord were returned to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Saturday.
Lord was flying a mission targeting gun positions over Italy near the France border when his plane went down into the sea near Corsica. The crash happened in 1944 when he was just 20 years old.
His flagged-draped coffin was received with full military honors as the sound of bagpipes filled the air.
Police and a Patriot Guard Riders’ motorcade escorted Lord’s hearse from Hopkins to the Marcy Funeral Home in Conneaut, where he was from originally.
Lord was listed as missing in action for 74 years, until his remains, despite the remarkable odds, were recovered during a diving mission last year. He was identified by dental records, and material evidence found at the crash site.
Lord’s cousin Rick Gleason, a commander in the Navy, hopes other missing war heroes can also be recovered and come home someday.
“My cousin James Lord was an absolute hero. The good thing to know is that our government is out there looking for these men and women that are missing in action in hopes that we can bring them all home,” said Rick Gleason.
Vietnam veteran Richard Gleason was two years old when his cousin James Lord died flying his mission.
“He gave his life for our country, and there’s nothing more impactful or higher than a young man or woman could do, and they went into battle and they were brave,” said Richard Gleason.
Sadly, Lieutenant Lord’s brother Bill Lord was also killed serving in World War II. His body has never been recovered.
There will be a wreath presentation to honor Lt. Lord at the Fallen Heroes Memorial at the Marcy Funeral Home in Conneaut next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Charlie McGeever with the Ohio Patriot Guard Riders said officers from Moreland Hills, Eastlake, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Conneaut Police and volunteers from C.C.I.P. assisted with the escort.