ALTAMONT, Tenn. — U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais on Wednesday presented an American flag to the family of a Korean War veteran whose remains were returned to Grundy County 62 years after he went missing in action.
"It's a treat for me to be able to honor our veterans and our servicemen," DesJarlais said in one of his first public appearances since last year's election. "It's one of the parts of our job that makes sense to me."
The flag flew over the U.S. Capitol building on Sept. 19, the congressman's spokesman said.
According to a 2004 letter from the Army, Chinese forces captured Pfc. Glenn Schoenmann in North Korea on Dec. 2, 1950. The Palmer, Tenn., native and his fellow POWs died within a month.
It took six decades and DNA testing before the government positively identified Schoenmann's remains; a memorial service occurred earlier this month for the Army private who will always be 20 in the minds of his siblings.
"We just remember our young days on the farm and how everything was simple then," said his sister Edna Kilgore, 83. "We didn't have any cameras, so his Army picture was the main one we had."
Kilgore and two other Schoenmann siblings met DesJarlais at the Grundy County Courthouse. They mixed small talk with memories of Glenn.
"It was a sweet closure we had," said Carl Schoenmann, 76, the youngest brother. "We're just thankful the government did what it had to do to get back what was missing in Korea."