WWII Marine buried in Chattanooga after 75 years

The National Cemetery in Chattanooga was filled with family, friends, and fellow military members of Corporal Henry Andregg Jr. Friday afternoon. (Image: WTVC)

The National Cemetery in Chattanooga was filled with family, friends, and fellow military members gathered for the funeral of Corporal Henry Andregg Jr. Friday afternoon.

Corporal Andregg was killed during the US invasion of the Gilbert Islands during World War II. His family believed he was "washed away at sea" for the past 75 years, but this year that changed.

"This whole thing has been such a revelation. This morning I thought today is a day of hope," said Peggy Kelly, the niece of Corporal Andregg.

Peggy says she was young when he was first deployed, but remembers the days before he left.

"He took me out for a hamburger. He also had a little gift for me - it was a little shoulder purse, and so that’s what I remember about him specifically."

William Andregg, Henry's nephew, says he remembers the stories that were told.

William said "75 years ago, my dad had a brother that just disappeared. His mom died at 14 and his dad died at 16 and he went into the Marines."

"That put a vacancy in your life - everybody wonders, number one - where is he?"

William said the feeling of relief is overwhelming, knowing that their Marine is home in Tennessee.

Charlie and Debbie used to ride with Veterans MC and have come to so many military funerals here at the National Cemetary that they lost count.

Although, they say this long awaiting homecoming is special.

"We come to honor the men that passed before us, that gave their lives to serve for us," Charlie said.

"It's an honor to watch these men be honored in the way that proper way that they should have and bring them home."

Having lost loved ones in the military, Charlie says he understands how the family must have felt.

"Without closure, they can't rest there always a rage in between them, but once they bring him home they can rest just like the soldier - he can rest now."

At the end of the service the family gathered around the casket. They say they were overwhelmed by the amount of support they felt.

"You can say it from the bottom of your heart, but you just cant say it enough," said William Andregg.

You can read more about Corporal Andregg's visitation in his hometown of Whitwell Thursday here.

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