After 66 years, WW2 veteran brought home for burial

Bill Poveromo of Charlotte never knew his uncle, John Simonetti - only the stories.

Long before Poveromo was born, Uncle John died at 26 in a French cow pasture on June 16, 1944, 10 days after the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

No one ever found a body, so Simonetti's parents never held a funeral. They died in the late 1960s, still hoping that their son would one day come home alive.

It was as if that bullet from a German sniper's gun opened a family wound that would never close.

On Monday, it will.

That's when 120 far-flung members of Uncle John's family will gather at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., to bury his remains - miraculously found in late May 2009, days before the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

A road construction crew unearthed the full skeleton and Simonetti's two Army dog tags.

After 65 years, a 15-year-old business card with outdated information brought Uncle John back to his family. Now he's bringing his once close-knit family back together.

"The tragedy of Uncle John resonates with every member of this family," said Poveromo, a Myers Park High grad and a former TV journalist who recently returned to Charlotte. "They're coming out of respect for him, for my grandparents who never gave up - and out of respect for our family.

"His remains have been in a cow pasture in France for 65 years. He deserves a proper burial."

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