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Remains of WWII sailor who died on Normandy Beach in 1944 arrive in Willmar

Sailors from Navy Operational Support Center Minneapolis carryout the dignified transfer of the remains of Willmar, Minnesota native Motor Machinist’s Mate 1st Class John E. Anderson. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Michael Sheehan/Released

WILLMAR — The remains of John E. Anderson arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Thursday evening.

The Willmar native was a motor machinist mate 1st class who was killed in action on Normandy Beach June 6, 1944, according to the U.S. Navy.

Anderson, who was 24 at the time of his death, was believed to be lost at sea, according to West Central Tribune reports. For 72 years, his remains were interred in the American Cemetery in France, in a grave marked “Unknown X-91.’’

His remains were recently identified and were returned to Willmar around 8:40 p.m. Thursday.

A memorial service with military honors will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Willmar War Memorial Auditorium.

The public is invited to join surviving family members and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the service.

Following will be a committal service at Fairview Cemetery — also in Willmar — where John E. Anderson’s remains will be interred alongside those of his parents.

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