ANDERSON, SC (WSPA)–An Upstate soldier is back home, and people can now pay their respects, decades after his death in the Korean War.
Inside the McDougald Funeral home, lie the remains of U.S. Army Veteran, Corporal William “Billy” McCollum.
“This soldier made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” said Rider Captain, with the Patriot Guard Riders.
Corporal McCollum, a native of Anderson, died while serving the U.S. more than 70 years ago, but the journey to his return home has been a long one. At the age of 17, McCollum, was inducted into the U.S. Army. In June 1950, the Korean War started, and he was transferred to battle grounds. A short time later, he was reported missing in action, and declared dead three years later. However, at that time, Corporal’s remains were not recovered. In 2018, former President Donald Trump, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un reached an agreement to return 55 boxes of remains to the U.S.
Corporal McCollum’s remains were among those returned, after being identified in 2019.
“It’s important that we pay respect and honor to those who serve our nation, and are certainly are warriors in that group,” a rider captain said.
This week, the corporal’s remains were given to his family.
“It was an honor to see everybody here like that. That was a big surprise and I wasn’t expecting that, but you know they all showed up, and it was great,” said Frankie Cain, Corporal McCollum’s sister.
As loved ones prepare for his burial, people like the Vets Helping Vets in Anderson and Patriot Guard Riders have and will honor the corporal.
“He’s a brother vet. There’s just something about the brotherhood of being a veteran. No matter if you know the person or not, or what they’ve been through, just being a part of the brotherhood,” said Jim Whiteside, Vets Helping Vets Anderson. “I can feel for the family. It’s just a wonderful thing this country does to provide this kind of service for a veteran that’s been missing for 70 some odd years,” he said.
Corporal McCollum will lie in state on Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the McDougald Funeral Home.
The funeral service, with military honors, will be held at M.J. Dolly Cooper Veterans Cemetery on Saturday, June 19 at 1 p.m.