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Soldier's remains returned to Bay Area family after 65 years

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The remains of Army Cpl. Robert Perry Graham were returned to his family from Korea where he died as a prisoner of war - a moment they had been waiting 65 years for. (KGO-TV)

The remains of Army Cpl. Robert Perry Graham were returned from Korea - a moment his family has been waiting 65 years for.

Relatives spent decades waiting and not knowing what happened to him.

Graham died a prisoner of war in Korea in the early 50s when he was just 21 years old. Now, a generation later his family is finally able to bury him.

His remains were flown to San Francisco from Hawaii and his escort was his nephew, a retired Marine. "Whether it was my uncle or anyone, any service member, we always have a sense of pride in taking care of our own or bringing home our home," James George said.

In 1951, Graham was reported missing in action in Korea.

In 1953, his family learned he had been a prisoner of war and likely died in a POW camp.

It wasn't until the early 90s that North Korea turned over boxes of co-mingled remains of U.S. servicemen.

Families were asked to give DNA samples last Fall, and Graham's family got a match. "It gives me a sense of peace for my father," Nicole Venturelli said.

Venturelli's father was Graham's brother - two of nine siblings who grew up in San Francisco. "They were separated a lot as children into foster homes, so my father and my uncle Bobby were so close in age that they were together a lot, so they bonded," she said.

Venturelli's dad died before the DNA testing even began. However, she and her cousin James said this is an incredible moment for the family. "It's something that my aunts and uncles and my mother have always dreamed about, having this closure," George said.

There are still 7,800 Americans unaccounted for from the Korean War.
Related Topics:
familynorth koreamarinessoldier killedarmySan Francisco
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