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Editorial: It’s time to welcome this Willmar sailor home

The remains of a Willmar sailor from World War II will finally be returning home tonight to Kandiyohi County.It has been nearly 72 years since U.S. Navy Motor Machinist Mate 1st Class John E. Anderson was killed while his ship was transporting tr...

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The remains of a Willmar sailor from World War II will finally be returning home tonight to Kandiyohi County.
It has been nearly 72 years since U.S. Navy Motor Machinist Mate 1st Class John E. Anderson was killed while his ship was transporting troops during D-Day’s Normandy invasion.
His remains will be returned home to Willmar tonight along U.S. Highway 12 to Peterson Brothers Funeral Home, with an estimated arrival time of 8 p.m. Thursday.
Those wishing to honor Anderson are welcome to gather alongside the Highway 12 route in Willmar this evening.
Surviving family members and the community will gather for a service at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Willmar War Memorial Auditorium. A committal service with a military honor guard and 21-gun salute will follow in Willmar’s Fairview Cemetery.
Anderson had been lying buried unidentified in the Saint Laurent Cemetery, now known as the Normandy American Military Cemetery, in Baveux, France.
His remains were identified after removal from the unmarked grave in France and the conducting of DNA testing.
The transport ship USS LST-30 had successfully discharged members of the 467th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion on the French coast near Colleville on D-Day on June 6. 1944. During the LST’s retraction from the beach, it was struck by German artillery and its engine room was flooded.
Anderson was reported killed in action. His body was turned over to the Army and buried in the Saint Laurent Cemetery. The grave was identified as Unknown-91.
On April 17, his family members were notified that genetic testing had confirmed Anderson’s identity.
Tonight Anderson’s remains are returning home to his native Willmar. It is time to turn out to welcome this Willmar veteran home.
We encourage you and your family to gather along Highway 12 tonight in a sign of respect and welcome home this Willmar sailor.
It is the least we can do for a World War II veteran who made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day.
Welcome home Machinist Mate 1st Class Anderson. Thank you for your service. We are glad you are finally coming home to Willmar.

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