DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Friends and family gathered Saturday, on a day more than half a century in the making, to finally lay to rest U.S. Army Cpl. Leon E. Clevenger.

Clevenger was reported missing in action in the Korean War in 1950 and his remains were later accounted for in 2019.

His family says his burial has been a long time coming.

“You know after 70 years you never want to give up on hope but you do wonder after so much time if it will actually transpire and then when it does it’s just this overwhelming amazing feeling,” said David Clevenger, the soldier’s nephew.

During the graveside service, loved ones shared songs, memories, and even letters Clevenger wrote back home.

He was known to everyone as a kind family man. His family hopes his story inspires other families still waiting on the return of their loved ones to never give up hope.

“Well, I don’t think you ever give up hope on a loved one coming home,” said David Clevenger.

The family says they now look forward to visiting Clevenger graveside each week.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared December 11 Cpl. Leon E. Clevenger Day.