Most people are able to visit a single grave of a loved one in search of closure, but that’s not the case for one Port Washington man’s family after he was buried again on Wednesday — this time with military honors.
Sgt. James T. Blong, who was killed in a World War II plane crash during a bombing mission over Berlin in 1944, was buried on at Arlington National Cemetery along with other crew members.
Mike Schmit, owner of Schmit Bros. car dealership in Saukville, is Blong's nephew and godson. Blong was a brother to Schmit's mom. Schmit never met Blong, who was laid to rest years ago among family in St. Mary's Cemetery.
What was buried in Arlington on Wednesday was likely just body parts, Schmit said, but that doesn't diminish the meaning.
“This is quite a matter — to have him buried (again, but) that doesn’t overshadow the honor of having a grave site in Arlington,” Schmit said.
Military officials used DNA testing on remains found at the crash site of Blong’s death, positively identifying these recently buried remains as belonging to Blong and other members of the flight, according to an Associated Press story. They were buried in a single grave at Arlington.
Blong was not scheduled to be on the flight that ultimately took his life, Schmit said, but he had volunteered to take the place of a fellow soldier who was sick.