The skies above DFW Airport are full of people headed home.
But one particular airport homecoming Thursday was different. It was a moment more than seven decades in the making.
"It's very emotional," says Stacy Snapp.
"It's just crazy," echoes Brent Snapp. "It's going to be an overwhelming sense of emotion, pride, all those things."
Brothers Stacy and Brent Snapp, from Lewisville and Lubbock respectively, had heard mentions while growing up of their cousin Raymond Snapp. He was a Marine Corporal from Montague County who died in World War II, fighting in the Pacific. He was just 24.
What they didn't realize is that in the 74 years since he passed away, his remains had never been identified. Cpl. Snapp's parents had long passed away. Brent and Stacy weren't born until long after the war.
"For all these years, they've known the Marine was killed. They knew what day and what battle, but that's it," says Major Tim Kronjaeger. "They haven’t known where his remains are or how he was killed. They only know he was killed in action against the enemy."
But Kronjaeger says last year, the government exhumed the bodies of 94 unidentified WWII veterans, who'd been buried in Hawaii, to see if advancements in DNA testing and science could help identify them.
"And so you can imagine chills went down my spine," Stacy says.
The Snapp brothers found out just two weeks ago that Raymond, their father's first cousin, had been identified and was coming home.
"It was shocking and exciting," Brent says.
The Marines, the airport, police and Patriot Guard Riders were ready to welcome him.
"After 70-plus years, to be able to bring this man home to his family and home to his final resting place, it's an American story," says Patriot Guard Rider Mark Littel.
And so just before 11:30 Thursday morning, a Delta flight landed at DFW Airport carrying an American hero.
People watched, gripped, from both inside the plane and inside the airport. The held their phones up to take pictures and videos of the procession.
Seventy-four years after he died, Corporal Raymond Snapp got the homecoming he'd always deserved.
A motorcade accompanied his body all the way to Louisiana, where he'll be buried with a full military funeral. He's being buried there because his closest living relative, a 91-year-old first cousin, lives there.
The Snapp brothers were touched at the entire thing.
"Three things that you hold dear, you know—your God, your family, and your country. And it's a display of the best of all three," Brent says.
It's just as important, 74 years later.
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