Back in 1949 — at 20 years old — Knight left West Brookfield to serve in Korea. It wasn’t until this week he finally returned home.
“Hard to hold back the tears of joy — really more than sadness,” says Carolyn Demore, a relative of Knight.
“This is closure for the family,” adds Air Force Veteran Daniel Meloche. “It’s hard to believe he entered the military the year I was born.”
Knight was listed as missing for decades.
In 2002, a mass grave was uncovered in North Korea, but the family didn’t learn about it until last December when Knight’s brothers were asked to take a DNA test.
“Overwhelmed, never thought it would ever happen and it happened last December where they found out he was going to come home,” says Demore. “They had identified Billy and he was going to come home.”
On Friday, family, friends and neighbors paid their final respects to the man who left to fight for their freedom more than 63 years ago.
“It’s sad, but yet it’s joyous because he’s home,” says Demore.
Cpl. Knight is now buried in Oakham with full military honors alongside his parents.