WEST, Texas — World War II hero First Lt. Louis Girard has been laid to rest in his hometown of West after 79 years overseas. Many people showed support at his burial, including distant family, fellow veterans, and members of the community.
While most of the people who attended had never met him, his legacy is no secret.
"We heard a lot about him when we were younger," Girard's second cousin Charles Girard told 25 News. "My mom and dad always talked about him being missing in action and all that."
"We just always heard about him," another cousin Linda Henry said.
Henry's father was his first cousin. She grew up hearing stories about Girard's heroism.
"We remember him telling us these stories about Louis losing his life, getting shot down while doing good for the world," she said.
While her father never got the chance to say goodbye himself, Henry said she was happy to see the family get some closure.
"It's a very emotional time," she said. "Beautiful, just beautiful. I appreciate whatever, whoever, did to make this happen."
Girard was an Army Airman killed during Operation Tidal Wave in August 1943. His remains were identified just this year, 79 years later, in a process his family says they hope brings other unidentified veterans home to their own families.
"It's very important so these people can have closure because if you don't have closure, it's so hard to have peace of mind and heart," Henry said.
Girard was laid to rest at the Saint Mary Catholic Cemetery, in the town he called home all those years ago.