March 1st, 1969, University of Arkansas graduate and Air Force Captain, Virgil Kersh Meroney was shot down in Laos, while fighting in the Vietnam War. For more than four decades his body remained undiscovered.
Meroney's bother, Doug said, "43 years is a long wait."
Kelly Meroney, Virgil's son, added, "It's been a long time in the making."
In March of 2012, a body found near the crash site was confirmed to be Captain Meroney.
Kelly said, "It was like, wow, finally, after all these years, he's going to get to come home."
Friday the remains were flown to Northwest Arkansas. From the airport the family took their loved one on a final tour.
Doug said, "The first little town we came through was a town called Healing Springs, that hit my heart first. This is a healing, this is a closure for our family."
It was a procession led by a fleet of veterans. Several motorcycles rode along with the hearse.
Michael Cowen is a Vietnam vet, who played a native American flute after the procession, he said, "When I go to things like this that have to do with the spiritual side of bringing a person home and watching them go to the creator, I play for that."
Along the way, lining the streets were dozens of proud Arkansans honoring a true hometown hero.
Doug emotionally said, "These people just had smiles, hands crossing their hearts, and the flags."
Simple gestures of respect for an Airman that might now, finally, be able to rest in peace.
Kelly said, "It's bringing a close to this story after 43 years, and it's just amazing that we're finally able to do this."
Captain Meroney will be laid to rest in Fayetteville on Saturday. He will be buried next to his wife Connie, who passed away in 2008.