GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - A World War II veteran was finally laid to rest in Green Bay Sunday, 68 years after his military plane crashed in Germany.
Army Lieutenant James Des Jardins was 21 for only a week when his B-51 Mustang was shot down.
A dredging effort uncovered the wreckage. And the pilot’s uncle, Outagamie County Circuit Judge John Des Jardins, said he was shocked when he was notified about his nephew last year.
James’ older brother Earl was killed just two months before him, in a B-24 plane crash in Europe.
And after all these years, John Des Jardins said his family feels a sense of closure and peace. He said he wanted Sunday’s service to be uplifting and patriotic, and not a time of sadness. He said James’ friends are gone – and he said now is a time for respect, and thank those in his generation who did so much to preserve American freedoms.
James Des Jardins was buried with full honors next to his brother Earl where they grew up in Green Bay. A flyover was canceled due to Sunday’s rain, but Patriot Guard members led a funeral procession on motorcycles.