Families await return of U.S. service members remains following North Korea summit agreement

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After President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader pledged to return the remains of U.S. military members who died in the mysterious country.

President Trump initially claimed that approximately 200 remains had been returned already; however, other White House officials said wooden caskets were only recently taken to the North and South Korean border in preparation for the return of the remains. 

Huntsville native Kenneth Woods and his wife, Nelli, visit the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo regularly to see the grave of Kenneth’s father, Cecil, who served in the Korean War and died in 2016.

Woods said he is hopeful that other families who have not been able to give their loved ones a proper burial will soon have the same opportunity.

“Some of these people have been waiting almost 60 years — at least 60 years — for the family members to come back,” Woods said. “If they bring anything back home, whether it’s a bone or whatever, they have a place to put it in the ground, they have a touch point to come visit every once in a while. I’m 100 percent for it.”

According to Kenneth Woods, Cecil was a member of the Air Force who helped load missiles and bombs — including nuclear weapons — onto the B-52 bombers.

American Village, next door to the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, offers a free service that provides military families with a free mini-movie salute to their loved ones.

Families can go online and enter their veteran’s information in the database and a movie is automatically generated featuring their loved one. That video can be watched – by anybody – at the National Veteran’s Shrine at American Village.

“We must always remember those men and women — not just to thank them — but to remember their stories,” Melanie Poole, a spokeswoman for American Village, said. “We recognize that freedom is not free and we remember the price of liberty and we honor those that have paid that price.”

American Village is located at 3727 Highway 119 S, Montevallo, AL 35115. 

The Alabama National Cemetery is located at 3133 Hwy 119, Montevallo, AL 35115.

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