12 THE BEACON www . coshoctonbeacontoday . com June 28 , 2017
Gene Appleby ’ s nephew , Gene Simonds , left , was given the POW MIA flag after the processional carrying his uncle ’ s remains arrived at Miller Funeral Home .
APPLEBY : A hero laid to rest
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could be heard as Appleby ’ s remains exited the hearse and people stood in awe , some trying to hold back tears , as his body made its way into the funeral home .
“ Thank you all so much for coming to honor this man ,” said Matt Miller , owner of Miller Funeral Home .
Appleby ’ s nephew , Gene Simonds , was among those escorted in the processional . He flew to Coshocton from his home in Florida to see his uncle laid to rest . He was overwhelmed by the response he has received since the announcement was made just last week that his
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The remains of Pvt . Eugene “ Gene ” Appleby arrived in Coshocton County Tuesday afternoon and were given full military rites at Miller Funeral Home .
uncle ’ s remains had been found , and he was overcome with emotion when he saw the hero ’ s welcome his uncle received from Columbus to Coshocton .
“ I ’ ve never seen anything like it in my whole life ,” he said . “ I can ’ t say that I ’ m overwhelmed . It ’ s so much more . On every overpass , people were saluting and holding the flag . I can say that my heart is about as full as it can be . I ’ ve waited for this day since I was three or four years old . He ’ s one of my heroes . I ’ m so glad he ’ s finally home .”
Simonds said that he recently discovered that his Uncle Gene had lived in Coshocton when he was little . He will be buried in South Lawn Cemetery alongside his mother and young sister .
Simonds plans to spend the next couple of days in Coshocton exploring everything the community has to offer .
“ I just can ’ t get over the people ,” said Simonds . “ I can ’ t believe the goodness and the love of the people who live here . It makes me want to move here .”
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Not only did Simonds come to Coshocton for his uncle ’ s burial , but his grandchildren came as well .
“ I ’ m concerned about the young people today ,” he said . “ They don ’ t know about these things , so I wanted my grandchildren to be here to experience this and know why we live here today .”
Even an emergency surgery couldn ’ t keep Matt Miller away from welcoming this WWII MIA , now KIA , veteran home .
“ I can ’ t believe the goodness and the love of the people who live here .”
“ I ’ d see him up at like 1 a . m . looking for everything about the mission Gene was on ,” said Matt ’ s daughter , Madison . “ He wanted to learn everything about it . He wanted to make sure he could give this man the biggest honor he could .”
Matt was overcome with emotion during the processional , especially seeing the community of Coshocton come out to give Appleby a hero ’ s welcome and farewell .
“ I was just blown away by the support in this community ,” he said . “ Coshocton is a very traditional patriotic community , and standing here today , wow , what a testimony .”
Appleby served in the United States Army , 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment , 82nd Airborne Division . On Sept . 17 , 1944 , Appleby took part in Operation Market Garden , Drop Zone T north of Groesbeek , The Netherlands . After a successful jump and landing , his squadron took on enemy fire and Appleby was killed in action and had remained missing in action .
On Sept . 8 , 2011 the Royal Netherlands Army Recovery and Identification Unit “ RIU ” was notified of possible human remains found on a farm by local residents . The remains were then transferred to the Joint POW / MIA Accounting Command , now DPAA , for identification . Through DNA , site investigation and information from his fellow soldiers , the remains were successfully identified to be Pvt . Eugene J . “ Gene ” Appleby .
Appleby ’ s remains will be laid to rest on Thursday with a funeral service at Miller Funeral Home at 11 a . m . followed by burial at South Lawn Cemetery .