For 77 years Army Private Lyle Reab was missing in action.He was presumed killed during one of the bloodiest battles in World War II.On Friday, the native Nebraskan’s remains were brought home. Family members were part of the escort, including Karen Thomas.”He gets to come home and be laid to rest beside his parents where he should be. The sad part was his mother never knew where he was at,” Thomas said.Thomas is Reab’s second cousin. For several years she and her husband Bill have helped give dozens of soldiers a final tribute to as Legion Riders. But Friday’s ride hit close to the heart.”It just gives you a different feeling when it’s your own family member,” Thomas said.Reab was 22. He was involved in the longest and one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. Military history in Hurtgen Forest along the Belgium-German border in December 1944.”Some of them said it was a suicide mission when they sent those guys in there. They knew there was a lot of them that wouldn’t come out,” Thomas said.Reab was in a fox hole when a missile hit, burying him.In 1948, his unidentified remains were discovered and taken to an American cemetery in Germany.In 2018, the remains were exhumed and brought to Offutt Air Force Bas, where the Defense Pow-Mia Accounting lab used DNA testing to identify Reab.”It was almost unbelievable,” Thomas said. “They call and tell you they found the remains close to 80 years ago and you say, ‘Are you serious?'”Thomas’ father, Dale Croxen, 94, is the oldest surviving relative.”He can remember going down and staying overnight, playing boy games outside and doing the things little kids do,” Thomas said.A military honor guard brought Reab’s casket into the Higby-MqQuiston Mortuary in Aurora.On Tuesday, Reab will be buried in the cemetery south of Giltner where he grew up, next to his father, Harry, who died in 1973 and mother Daisy, who died in 1988. A headstone with his name on it has been waiting for him for so long.”There’s always been kind of an open place,” Thomas said.An empty feeling that will soon be filled and closure at last for the family.”At least in my heart I know Aunt Daisy will know now, that he’s home,” Thomas said.

For 77 years Army Private Lyle Reab was missing in action.

He was presumed killed during one of the bloodiest battles in World War II.

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On Friday, the native Nebraskan’s remains were brought home. Family members were part of the escort, including Karen Thomas.

“He gets to come home and be laid to rest beside his parents where he should be. The sad part was his mother never knew where he was at,” Thomas said.

Thomas is Reab’s second cousin. For several years she and her husband Bill have helped give dozens of soldiers a final tribute to as Legion Riders.

But Friday’s ride hit close to the heart.

“It just gives you a different feeling when it’s your own family member,” Thomas said.

Reab was 22. He was involved in the longest and one of the bloodiest battles in U.S. Military history in Hurtgen Forest along the Belgium-German border in December 1944.

“Some of them said it was a suicide mission when they sent those guys in there. They knew there was a lot of them that wouldn’t come out,” Thomas said.

Reab was in a fox hole when a missile hit, burying him.

In 1948, his unidentified remains were discovered and taken to an American cemetery in Germany.

In 2018, the remains were exhumed and brought to Offutt Air Force Bas, where the Defense Pow-Mia Accounting lab used DNA testing to identify Reab.

“It was almost unbelievable,” Thomas said. “They call and tell you they found the remains close to 80 years ago and you say, ‘Are you serious?'”

Thomas’ father, Dale Croxen, 94, is the oldest surviving relative.

“He can remember going down and staying overnight, playing boy games outside and doing the things little kids do,” Thomas said.

A military honor guard brought Reab’s casket into the Higby-MqQuiston Mortuary in Aurora.

On Tuesday, Reab will be buried in the cemetery south of Giltner where he grew up, next to his father, Harry, who died in 1973 and mother Daisy, who died in 1988.

A headstone with his name on it has been waiting for him for so long.

“There’s always been kind of an open place,” Thomas said.

An empty feeling that will soon be filled and closure at last for the family.

“At least in my heart I know Aunt Daisy will know now, that he’s home,” Thomas said.

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