Tom McNichol flips through his uncle’s military records. He’s getting to know a man he never had the chance to meet.
“It has just been discovering and embracing my family in a whole different way,” Tom said.
John McNichol, an Altoona native, was a marine in WWII. He was just 20 when his life was taken while fighting in Tarawa.
Now, 74 years later, his body was finally found and is being returned for a burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
It’s a ceremony that’s bringing his family together.
“It is like a special reward for what he did and we are the beneficiaries,” Tom smiled.
Pieces from the war hero are now making their way back to Central Pennsylvania. They’re items that tell the story of the marine and help make sure he’s always remembered.
“I think I’m starting to know him a little,” Tom said. “It’s pretty cool.”
The ceremony will take place at the Arlington National Cemetery on Monday at 1 p.m.