Military personnel and family members gather as Cpl. Elmer Kidd is laid to rest Friday at Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Romulus. Kidd was a Seneca Falls resident and Korean War soldier who died in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. BRETT CARLSEN
A HERO HOME AT LAST
Seneca Falls salutes a Korean War casualty
When Elmer Kidd joined the army, he planned to return to Seneca Falls and buy his own farm, alongside — in the words of his beloved Frank Sinatra — “The girl that I marry.”
Kidd never married. And he never bought that acreage. But 62 years after he was killed in the Korean War’s Battle of Chosin Reservoir, he finally came home to Seneca Falls a hero.
Kidd’s remains were laid to rest Friday with his sole surviving sibling and her family looking on.
“Now with my uncle home, I can finally say I am very proud of him,” said Kidd’s nephew, Larry Stuck. “All these years he may have been missing, but he was never forgotten.”
Kidd’s remains were among 208 boxes that North Korea turned over to the United States in December 1993. The military was recently able to identify him through DNA tests.
He arrived home on Tuesday with a planeside ceremony at Hancock Airport in Syracuse. Following the ceremony, a procession moved the remains to Sanderson Moore Funeral Home in Seneca Falls, where his funeral was held Friday.
The funeral service included several hymns and the Frank Sinatra song, which his sister Alberta Stuck said reminded her of him. Afterward, the flag-draped casket was transported to the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Romulus, escorted by the Patriot Guard motorcycle riders. The Korean War Veterans of Central New York and local dignitaries attended the ceremony, and Kidd was sent off with a nine-gun salute. The American flag was somberly handed to his sister sitting in the front row. “Cpl. Kidd was, by every standard and measure, a genuine American hero,” said state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, RFayette, Seneca County.
Kidd was born in 1928, and grew up in Seneca Falls. He graduated from Mynderse Academy and entered the Army. He trained at Fort Dix in New Jersey, then spent several months in Japan before being deployed to North Korea. He was reported missing in action on Nov. 30, 1950. In 1956, the Military Review Board ruled that he had likely not survived the battle.
Former Marine Staff Sgt. Jack Allen fought in the same battle, though he was in the Marines and Kidd was in the Army. He remembers running from Chinese soldiers, looking back and watching a soldier stab his sleeping bag with a bayonet. “I shall never forget that time, never,” he said after the funeral service Friday. “It was an experience and a half.”
Allen and his wife recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. He said it occurred to him that if he hadn’t made it back, his four children and 10 grandchildren wouldn’t exist.
“I was the luckiest guy in the whole word,” he said. But even all these years later, he thinks about those who weren’t so lucky, like Kidd, and what they could have accomplished with their lives.
“He gave everything,” he said. “That’s the tragedy.”