More than 60 years later, airman returns home to Indiana

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By Bob Donaldson

INDIANAPOLIS (July 10, 2014) - It’s never too late to bestow honor, and a family’s love for a lost loved one never wanes.

Those were the messages as a fallen Hoosier hero returned home after being lost for a lifetime.

Paul Martin was finally reunited with older brother, Airman Howard Martin of Elwood, when the airman’s remains were flown home from Hawaii. The elder Martin was killed in November 1952 during the Korean War. He was just 21 years old.

"I learned more today than I did in 19 years of life," said Paul.

Howard Martin was one of 52 serviceman killed when his military transport crashed on a glacier near Anchorage, Alaska. There were no survivors and no remains were recovered at the time. But more than 60 years later, that glacier has melted enough to allow recovery. The airman was identified on what would have been his 83rd birthday.

"We can't contain it all...but we can rejoice with everything that's helped bring this closure," said his brother.

The Martin family was joined at the Indianapolis Airport by those who wanted to honor the family’s sacrifice. Even airport travelers who didn’t know about the ceremony inherently stopped to pause. It’s a day Paul Martin knew would come.

"Oh yes, I've dreamed about it. I think so, I've had emotions about it...but yes I'm glad it's here," said Martin.

The emotions are understandably mixed as Airman Martin returns. But for his family, it’s a day when they became whole once again.

"This...put together the circle of our family...he was the missing link to our family."