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Recently identified Roanoke World War II soldier to be buried Saturday

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Edward Hewitt Benson’s long journey home will be finished Saturday when the World World II private first class who died 77 years ago and half a world away is buried in Roanoke.

Benson was 22 years old when he was killed in March 1945 on an Indonesian island U.S. Army Air Force base during a Japanese air raid.

His body was among those that could not be accounted for, until the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced in March that Benson’s remains had been positively identified.

Know as “Pete,” Benson left a widow and young son, Jim, in Roanoke when he enlisted in 1942.

Jim Benson, now 79 and a retired Marine colonel, waged a decades-long, campaign that led him through dense military bureaucracy to solve the mystery of his father’s death.

The family has planned several commemorative events this weekend. A visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Oakey’s downtown chapel. A military funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at the same location.

Burial will be immediately following in the family’s plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Roanoke. A private gathering for friends and relatives will conclude the memorial events.

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