FORT LUPTON, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s been 65 years since anyone last heard from Cpl. Grant H. Ewing, but on Monday he was finally laid to rest in his home town of Fort Lupton on what would have been his 93rd birthday. But the road home hasn’t been easy.
“We don’t want him forgotten, we want people to know,” said Cindy Pinner, Ewing’s niece. “I was given the option to be his special escort home and I’m the only niece or nephew that was alive when he was alive. I was a baby. He called me the kid and in his letters home he said, ‘I bet the kid is walking, I’d sure like to see that.’”
Ewing grew up in Fort Lupton before enlisting in the Navy in World War II. He enlisted in the Army during the Korean War. He went missing during an attack on Nov. 30, 1950. Other POWs told the Ewing family Grant died in February 1951 from pneumonia and malnutrition.
“I know how my grandparents felt at his loss, I know how my dad felt his whole life,” Pinner said. “I never thought I would live to see my uncle’s remains returned. It just seemed like he’d be gone to us forever.”
In the early 1990s North Korea turned over 208 boxes of remains, but the Department of Defense soon realized the remains were mixed and began working to identify more than 600 people’s remains. In 1995 Pinner’s father gave a DNA sample hoping to find a match to Ewing.
“I was notified in March of this year that they believed they had positively identified my Uncle Grant’s remains,” Pinner said.
She went to Honolulu to bring the remains back to Colorado earlier this month.
On Monday Ewing was given a full military burial.
“For him to be honored by all kinds of people who are coming because they know he deserved it,” Pinner said.
She hopes his story can help other families struggling with lost loved ones.
“Anyone who has lost someone in a war needs to know there’s still hope. If they can contribute DNA there’s a good chance they can be restored and returned to their families.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.