PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dominic Ragucci had thought for nearly 70 years that the remains of his older brother, Emil, were swept out to sea during a World War II battle on a Pacific atoll.
On Monday, the 86-year-old plans to stand on the tarmac in Philadelphia with his 91-year-old brother Victor and greet Emil’s remains as he finally makes it home.
They are the last surviving members of an 11-sibling family.
Five brothers fought in the war, and two died less than 90 days apart. Nicholas, killed in Italy in January 1944, was brought home right after the war.
Recent efforts by a nonprofit group brought dozens of sets of remains from Tarawa back to the U.S., and new DNA technology made it possible to identify the men, including Emil.
His funeral will be Tuesday.