American hero honored in Worcester, Mass.

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June 25, 2013, 6:02 pm
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(NECN: Mike Cronin) - An American hero was honored in Worcester, Mass., 62 years after his death.

Private William James Henry's name was revealed Tuesday at the Korean War Memorial. The Worcester native died of heatstroke in 1951 during training in South Carolina.

“He had been in the service for 11 days and he'd only turned 22 two days before he died,” says family friend Francis McKeon.

Henry's name is 192nd on the memorial and the first to be added since it was dedicated almost 10 years ago. His brother and sister helped with Tuesday's ceremony. McKeon says he's the only soldier on the memorial who didn't die during combat.

“And there's no list of all the people who have died in non-combat accidents during the war and there could be as many as 17,000 people,” McKeon says.

“It's just a wonderful, a wonderful feeling to be at the helm of a committee that can do such good deeds for a family 62 years later,” says chairman of the Korean War memorial, Thomas O’Connor.

McKeon contacted the Korean War Memorial Committee of central Massachusetts. Chairman Thomas O'Connor says the committee unanimously approved henry's addition to the wall.

“Events like this make the Korean War no longer the forgotten war.”

“He died trying to be a great marine with the intent to go in and defend his country and support our country in South Korea,” says vice chairman Daniel Brennock, who is happy they finally brought a hero home.

Brennock says while Henry's name is the last on the memorial, it’s the first in his family's heart.

“Even though it was 61, 62 years ago he died, there was some healing, there was still some grieving taking place and I think we healed some folks today and it's worth it.”

“Now that his name has been added,” McKeon says, “everybody that comes down here will remember him.”

Tags: worcester massachusetts, Mike Cronin, private William james henry, Korean war memorial, francis mckeon, Thomas o’connor, Daniel brennock
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