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Soldier dies during war, remains return to Ascension Parish 72 years later

Cpl. Lawrence Brown’s remains return home to Ascension Parish

A Korean War soldier’s remains that went unidentified for nearly 72 years are back in Ascension Parish for a proper burial.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office escorted Cpl. Lawrence Brown’s remains from New Orleans to Lawson & Rollins Purple Shield Funeral Home in Gonzales Wednesday evening where a funeral will be held on July 9.

Brown was born in Prairieville before moving to Baton Rouge and attending Mckinley High. He joined the Army in 1948 where he earned nine military awards, including The Purple Heart.

Officials say Brown was captured near Kujan, North Korea in 1950 – when he was 21 years old. It is unknown exactly when he died.

Not many of Brown’s relatives are still alive. Odessa Williams Johnson was there to bring Wednesday to bring her first cousin’s remains home.

“He could’ve been buried in five other veteran cemeteries but we’re bringing him home to Prairieville where he was born, where he went to church, and where he went to school,” she said. “It was a long process.”

In May, officials announced that Brown’s remains had been identified decades after his death.

“It’s a wonderful day and it’s just an honor for us here in Ascension Parish, both the military side and law enforcement side to bring home Lawrence Larry Brown who’s been missing for so many years now,” said Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre. “Unbelievable Korean War veteran who was killed in action died in a prison camp and after all these years to finally bring him home, and it’s just a small token of our appreciation to him and to his family. It’s just a special moment for us here in Ascension Parish.”

The process of getting Brown’s remains identified involved DNA tests on Brown’s aunt and three first cousins. His mother, father, sister, and brother had already died.

Despite the obvious obstacles, the soldier’s remains will have a final resting place near his mother and father in his hometown.

“It is historic, but you know what, this is our duty,” Webre said. “A lot of us are veterans. We serve our community. And when somebody makes the ultimate sacrifice, we feel it is our obligation. We feel it’s our duty to honor them.”

The funeral service will be held Saturday, July 9 2022 at Mount Gillion Baptist Church Cemetery in Prairieville at 2 p.m.

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