After Going Missing 79 Years Ago Soilder To Have Proper Burial
The United States Army Graves Registration Command (AGRC) investigated Harris’ loss with no success. In September 2013, an official from the American Battle Monuments Commission notified the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) that a French national had located the possible grave of an American serviceman in France. The grave was on a hilltop, under a large rock with a crude engraving of a cross and the letter “H”.
The JPAC recovery team excavated the burial site and found PFC Harris’ identification tag, also known as ‘dog’ tags, military items used by American service members during the time period of 1940’s and human remains that were later confirmed through DNA samples and dental records to be Harris.
“Cecil Harris is a Tennessee and American hero and it is fitting that he finally be laid to rest with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery,” Haslam said.
Harris is survived by his former wife Helen Cooke of Chattanooga, son William Edwin Harris of Mountain City and sister Janice Carlton of Shelbyville.
The body of PFC Harris will arrive at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville on Wednesday, August 27 at 11:06 a.m.
The funeral service for Harris will be held at Red Bank Baptist Church at 4000 Dayton Boulevard on Friday, August 29 at 11:30 a.m. (EDT) in Chattanooga.
Haslam has declared a day of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 in honor of PFC Cecil Harris’ ultimate sacrifice. Harris will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).