NORWAY — Sixty-six years after dying with other airmen when their bomber crashed in the Philippines, 2nd Lt. Robert Emerson of Norway is back home in western Maine.

Emerson’s remains spent years in a swamp in the Philippines, and decades at a midwestern cemetery. The Sun Journal of Lewiston says they were even shipped to Hawaii before finally being positively identified through DNA analysis not known decades ago.

For years, Emerson lay interred in Missouri. A niece, Nancy Rock of Vermont, remembers a family tradition to send flowers to his grave every Memorial Day. Rock submitted a strand of Emerson’s mother’s hair to positively identify the long-lost airman.

The U.S. Department of Defense helped in the effort to ensure that the remains wound up in their proper place.

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