STERLING, Illinois -- The city of Sterling laid to rest a native son, Korean War infantryman Corporal John G. Krebs. He was killed in action at age 19 in 1950, but his remains were only just identified last December.
"Not in my wildest dreams," said his niece, Devetta Harris. "From the 1950s, it's just miraculous," she said.
Harris said her family didn't talk much about her missing uncle. It was a tough subject.
But members of the Rolling Thunder non-profit group roared into Sterling on their motorcycles to make sure Krebs' long overdue homecoming wouldn't go unnoticed.
"You see everybody stop what they're doing, pay attention, salute the flag or place their hand over their heart and reflect as the motorcade passes and the hearse as well," said Steve Johnson, who rode near the front of the motorcade with two POW flags and the Marine flag affixed to his motorcycle.
Jefferson Elementary students could be seen standing at attention and showing their respects, waving the black MIA/POW flag and showing that while John Krebs was lost long ago, he was not forgotten.
And in his return to Sterling, he won't be alone.
"It's so heartwarming that we're able to bury him next to his twin brother here in Sterling where they were born," said Harris.
John Krebs and his twin brother George served in Korea together. They were killed on the same day in the same battle. George's remains were quickly recovered and identified, and he was laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery. But John ended up in the tomb of the unknown soldier in Hawaii for nearly seven decades.
"It's good to see that he got back to his hometown," said Vietnam War Veteran Ron Anderson, who came to Sterling to pay his respects. "May he rest in peace with his twin brother," he said.