KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The remains of a fallen marine are finally home.
Marine First Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr. was killed in action during World War II in 1943. After battle, he was buried on a battlefield on the island of Tarawa.
Saturday afternoon, there was a welcome home memorial for him in Worlds Fair Park.
Lt. Bonnyman’s grandson Clay Bonnyman Evans said it’s a great feeling to be able to bury his grandfather in Knoxville
“After all this time it’s just an incredible honor, it literally brings tears to our eyes…For the first time in this whole thing I’ve breathed a sigh of relief and said ok he’s here,” said Evans.
Saturday was all about honoring his grandfather.
“This is his home…It’s been a roller coaster ride,” he said.
Family members said this was a long process; they’ve been trying to get Lt. Bonnyman’s remains home to east Tennessee for more than 70 years.
The memorial brought out hundreds of people from elected officials to young and old marines. But one guest came all the way from Alabama, a fellow Medal of Honor recipient Mike Sprayberry.
“It’s important to all of us to be here and pay our respects and it’s a privilege to do that I consider it my duty,” said Sprayberry.
On Sunday, Lt. Bonnyman’s family will have a funeral open to the public. It will be held at the Barry Highland Memorial Cemetery at 5315 Kingston Pike in Knoxville and will begin at Noon.