ARLINGTON, Va. (WTRF) – Killed in service thousands of miles from home and now buried with honor. It’s a story more than 70-years in the making that “Veterans Voices” followed since June.
Private First Class John J. Sitarz left Weirton to join the Army during World War II. Now, he’s been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. 7News was able to speak with his family, and the shared their recount of the memorial service as part of “Veterans Voices”.
We never did meet him, but you felt like a solidarity with the family being there with him.Walt Kosin, Nephew
Most of the family that remains never knew him, but they gathered for the service, and walked behind the horse drawn caisson through Arlington National Cemetery to give Private First Class John J. Sitarz the hero’s honor he deserved.
I even heard somebody say there that you can tell the greatness of a country by how they treat their military dead and the amount of respect and just the awesome feeling you get at one of these events is so profound.Walt Kosin, Nephew
Sitarz died fighting in Germany’s Hurtgen Forrest in 1944 and until recently his body never made it home.
Last month Sitarz’s family gathered for the two-day service that they say was put on with military precision. It began with a wake the night before.
It’s an open casket, halfway open, and there’s a beautiful blue uniform inside the coffin.Walt Kosin, Nephew
The following day was the funeral, which began in Arlington’s chapel and ended with a procession to the final resting place.
The most probably sincere event is of course all military funerals end with the officers taking the American flag off the coffin and giving it to the next of kin, which in my case was my 91-year-old aunt.Walt Kosin, Nephew
Kosin’s aunt Bernice Krayzel may be the only one left who knew her brother, but after this experience, Private First Class Sitarz’s memory will live on in future generations.
She had always talked about them not finding him and he was killed in ’44. They brought his remains back, so that gave her some finality to the whole situation and it was good for the entire family any way you look at it.Walt Kosin, Nephew
Kosin expressed his thanks to the Army for everything they did to recover his uncle, and lay him to rest in this way.
7News would like to thank his family, for allowing us to be part of these moments.