LAKE CHARLES — On a bitterly cold February morning in 1951 near Hoengsong, Korea, Pfc. Edward M. Jones, 38th Infantry Division, went missing following a battle with Chinese forces during the Korean War.

Following a prisoner exchange after hostilities, it was learned that Jones, a native of Iowa, Louisiana, had been captured and later died from wounds in a Korean prisoner of war camp in March of 1951.

On Nov. 9, after more than 67 years, Jones’ remains were finally returned to Lake Charles, Louisiana, and interred next to his parents.

“This is a very important day to us,” said Steve Fleming, Jones’ nephew and son of his sister Lynn. “We’re glad to finally have him home.”

Although he never met his uncle, Fleming said he feels a close kinship.

“I’ve been told that we share a lot of common traits,” Fleming said. “It’s hard for me to talk about him without choking up.”

Funeral services for Jones were held at Hixson Funeral Home in Lake Charles, followed by graveside services at Sallier Cemetery.

Prior to the service, Jones was awarded the following medals: Purple Heart; Prisoner of War Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars; Combat Infantryman Badge; United National Service Medal; Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal; and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

At the graveside services, which were moved into the cemetery mausoleum due to inclement weather, Col. Christopher Moretti, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk chief of staff, presented flags to Jones’ Family members and thanked them for his selfless service and sacrifice. The burial detail from JRTC and Fort Polk’s 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, then fired a 21-gun salute, which was followed by the rendering of “Taps.”

Lynn Fleming, Jones’ sister who is nearest to him in age, said her brother’s return was a blessing come true.

“We never gave up hope that he would eventually come home,” she said. Fleming said that as the years passed, that “hope” became questioning that Jones would be repatriated in their lifetimes.

“Sixty-seven years is a lifetime for a lot of people,” she said. “My oldest sister is 93, I’m 86 and my youngest sister is 77, so we’re past that (67 years).

“We’re glad we were able to see him returned home.”

As the closest to Jones in age, Fleming said she and her brother were “playmate buddies.”

“We were very close as was our whole family,” she said. “We played, fought and did everything brothers and sisters would do. I still miss him so much.”

When the Fort Polk bugler sounded “Taps,” Fleming became visibly distraught, her eyes welling with tears.

“I knew they were going to play it (Taps) but I shake and shiver anytime I hear it,” she said. “It hit me even harder because they were playing it for my brother.”