Emotions were running high as Sgt. Jerome E. Kiger's family reached the gates of the Pittsburgh International Airport Thursday.
"It's very emotional, but a very happy time, and I feel so blessed to be here and be apart of this." said Terry Glover.
After another hour was added to a wait of 69 years, the family finally laid eyes on the flagged draped casket. Sgt. Kiger was finally back on
"I saw a miracle today, it's hard to believe" said Eva Hinerman.
"Truly this is a day in history, a day that everyone will remember when Jerome Kiger returns home." said Donna Renner.
After receiving plane side military honors, Sgt. Kiger was finally on his way home. He was escorted by not only the West Virginia Patriot Guard, but other state riders as well. All the way from Pittsburgh into Mannington.
"It felt tremendous, all the people standing on the side of the road, the tears flowing, and you try not to look them in the eye, you try to hold
back." said Buddy Myers, Patriot Guard Ride Captain, Fairmont District 4.
As the procession made it's way into Fairmont, Sgt. Kiger was welcomed home by several residents and emergency responders at the Gateway Connector.
"Kinda have to fight back the tears, to share the sense of joy that were getting from these people. But we always have that voice in the back of your head to remember it's for him, and the family." said, Adam Lucas with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
From there the procession headed into Mannington, ending a day full of emotion and patriotism.
"In the soldiers creed it says, "I will not leave a fallen comrade behind," and here is the perfect case. It took us 69 years, but we brought
him back home, so the Army creed has lived to be a perfect example with this case here." said Sgt. 1st Class, John Oliverio.
Sunday afternoon Sgt. Kiger will be buried in between his mother and father at Mannington Memorial Park. Govenor Earl Ray Tomblin has ordered that all flags be flown at half- staff all day Sunday in honor of Sgt. Kiger.
Residents are invited to line market street at 1:30pm as the funeral procession travels through Mannington.
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