A soldier killed during the Korean War has been laid to rest in his hometown in eastern Pennsylvania, while a second Korean War soldier also recently identified will be buried next month in another part of the state.
Edward Reiter dropped out of Northampton Area High School during his junior year and — with his father’s reluctant permission — enlisted in the Army, The (Allentown) Morning Call reported. Eight months later, still just 17, he disappeared on a battlefield in July 1950 in the first weeks of the Korean War.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced in August that unidentified remains from the war buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu were disinterred in 2019 and identified as his through analysis of dental, anthropological, mitochondrial DNA and other evidence.
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“He’s never been forgotten,” the Rev. Patrick Lamb said during a eulogy Saturday at Queenship of Mary Catholic Church before Reiter was buried with military honors at Our Lady of Hungary Cemetery in Northampton, where his parents are interred.
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About 20 family members attended the service, including Reiter’s sister, Rose Prickler, who held a memorial Mass for him at the church every year, the Morning Call reported. She was presented with her brother’s Purple Heart by a National Guard support specialist.
“I hope you will understand our total and profound appreciation,” consulate principal officer Daesup Chung told the family, which besides Prickler consisted of nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews. Another sister, Helen Templeton, was unable to attend and the rest of his siblings have passed on.
Also accounted for in August was U.S. Army Cpl. David N. Defibaugh, 18, of Duncansville, who went missing in action in July 1950, but the announcement was made only last week after his family received a full briefing on his identification. Defibaugh will be buried Nov. 4 in Altoona, authorities said.