Forty years after he disappeared in a plane crash during the Vietnam War, an East Texas pilot is laid to rest on his native soil of Marshall. Family , friends and hundreds of Marshall residents came out to welcome back that native son today. With full military honors, Air Force Colonel David Lewis was laid to rest at Colonial Gardens Cemetery in Marshall.
"It's not often you get to welcome home a hero and I guess because I grew up during the Vietnam War, it means a lot," says Lewis family friend, Judy Covey.
A flyer with a stellar record, Lewis B-57 Canberra went down in Laos in April 1965, and for four decades, his fate was a mystery to his family. An excavation team found his remains and identified him through DNA. Today, Marshall residents got to say thank you for his service.
"It means everything to be able to bring on of our heroes home finally after 40 years," said Army veteran Kenneth Campbell.
A lone piper played as Lewis casket was carried by cason, followed by the riderless horse, symbolic of a missing hero.
"We've seen what's gone on with the family through the years, and realized not only the colonels sacrifice, but also their sacrifice," said Air Force Vietnam Veteran, Mickey McCarty.
A B-52 flyover from Barksdale, honored the memorial. Lewis will be symbolically buried at Arlington national cemetery in Washington D.C. in September.