MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Thirty seven years after first being buried, a Wisconsin man has been buried again and this time he’s been laid amongst the nation’s heroes.
And it’s all because his nieces and nephews went on a complicated mission to fulfill his last wish.
Chuck Williamson was a World War II veteran. His nephew, Gary, who’s now 73 and lives in Hudson, Wis., took on a three-year project.
With the help of his cousins, their uncle has been laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery.
These days, Williamson is a retired salesman and a retired sea-man. He says he went into the U.S. Navy because of his uncle.
He says as a young boy, he looked up to his Uncle Chuck, a single Navy man who traveled the world, slipped him money, even loaned him his new Buick once for a date.
“He was very generous to the nieces and nephews. And like I say, I think we were kinda the surrogate children that he never had,” Williamson said.
So when those kids, who now have grandchildren, got together three years ago, the topic turned to Uncle Chuck.
One cousin revealed Chuck, who died in 1977 and was buried in Texas, had dreamed of being buried in Arlington.
So, they set out on a quest to have their Uncle moved to the place he belonged.
“We thought enough of Chuck to see this thing to the end. Come hell or high water, we were gonna get this thing done. We just didn’t, I don’t think any of us realized it was going to be this difficult,” Williamson said.
They couldn’t get the one document they needed because as a nephew, Williamson wasn’t considered next of kin.
Williamson kept trying.
“I didn’t know of any other avenue to take,” he said.
That avenue led Williamson to his local congressman. That’s when he got the piece of paper he needed.
Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy FaceTimed with WCCO from DC to explain.
“I couldn’t be more touched to know we had a part in making that dream come true. I’m actually looking forward to going out to Arlington and actually seeing Charles in his final resting place,” Rep. Duffy said.
“With Congressman Duffy’s help, the wheels got greased very quickly,” Williamson said.
And so now he lies, in his new coffin, in Arlington. Uncle Chuck is at rest and his family at peace.
“Chuck now is just where he wanted to be, so we’re all very happy about that,” Williamson said.
Williamson was not there for the burial, but he and his wife are going to visit Arlington in the spring.