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Family of Sgt. Licari overwhelmed by community support
FRANKFORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's a journey that has taken nearly seven decades and thousands of miles but a war hero from Frankfort is finally back home. On Monday, friends and family members of Sgt. Dominick Licari were invited to pay their final respects at calling hours.
Veterans held flags at the entrance to the Iocovozzi Funeral Home on Second Avenue. Sgt. Licari's remains were discovered a year ago.
The family was notified of the positive identification of the remains on July 17th.
Licari was a gunner on-board an A-20 Havoc Bomber that crashed in a mountain in New Guinea.
For many years his family had no idea what happened to him. Licari was one of 9 children and his two surviving siblings were at the funeral home to honor their brother.
"We'd kind of gotten used to the idea that he may never be coming home," said August "mort" Licari, Sgt. Licari's younger brother.
That all changed when his remains were discovered last month. "For us the day we got the phone call is when he passed away," said Licari.
For Sgt. Licari's family, this has been a time of mourning and a time of joy. "Anybody that ever met him just loved the hell out of him."
That love for Licari never went away. The family says they are overwhelmed by the support of the community as his brother returned home to the valley last Friday.
"Thousands of people lining the highway, lining the streets, waving flags," said Licari. "Children with signs saying 'Welcome 'Home Sgt. Dominick Licari."
"Growing up I would always hear how Uncle Dom went to war and he never came back and they never had anything of his to remember him by," said Jo Marie Halsey, Sgt. Licari's niece. "This is finally something they have now. They have him back."
Sgt. Licari's sister Katherine had a hard time talking about her older brother but knows family members who passed before this day would be grateful that he is finally back home.
"They'd be happy because he's joining them," said Katherine Frank. "He was a great brother."
"I think I have to confess after all these year. You know, you hope against hope but you finally give up," said Licari. "He hasn't been found by now, he's never going to be found...and maybe I feel a little guilt because of that."
Sgt. Licari was drafted into the military in 1942 and before he went missing in 1944, he wrote letters home quite often. His brother, August, has been reading those letters over and over again as of late. He says his brother ended each and every one-- the same way. "Give my Best Regards to the folks and to the kids. He we was thinking of us all the time."
Just as they were thinking of him.