DES MOINES, Iowa -- A fallen Iowan who served in Vietnam is finally home, giving new meaning to Monday’s remembrance ceremony for a Des Moines family.
Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation at the ceremony designating May 7, 2018, as Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day. She also re-signed Senate File 2366, which expands the Iowa Veterans Affairs Commission and provides additional assistance through the Veterans Trust Fund to help homeless veterans.
The family of a fallen Vietnam soldier, John D. Killen III, known as Jackie, received a flag from Governor Reynolds that was flown over the Capitol.
"We had special mention to my brother today because we recently found his remains and we're going to be able to lay him to rest in Arlington National Cemetery tentatively in August of this year," John’s sister, Mary Killen Boozer, said.
That will be possible because of the efforts of Stephanie Maiers, who wrote on Killen's behalf in 2009 and found the family through Facebook to give them the news she received years later. Maiers and the Killen family met for the first time at the ceremony.
"I'm really glad I got to meet them. I'm glad I got this closure for their family and he will be buried in Arlington. It's very important that we always remember the sacrifices that Mary's brother gave, and it means the world to me that I was able to find them so that they could have this closure," Maiers said.
Boozer said the years after the war were tough for her family.
"I witnessed my mother being told that her son died in vain for no good reason at all because of the political part of the war. And she said, 'Absolutely that is not true.' And she said, 'He did not die in vain and none of them did.' And I'm proud of every single person on that wall," Boozer said.
The family finally has the closure they were hoping for.
"Now it's time just to lay him to rest and to say, 'Semper Fi, Jackie.'"