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A Korean War soldier from NJ who was killed in action is finally given a full military funeral

The American flag. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)

A Korean war soldier from New Jersey who was killed in action 74 years ago was given a full military funeral Friday at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veteran Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown.

A large escort of over 200 people, including Veterans of Foreign Wars members, traveled from Maxwell Funeral Home in Little Egg Harbor to attend the burial.

U.S. Army Pfc. Anthony John Lopa, from North Arlington, was killed on Aug. 31, 1950, after being taken prisoner just weeks into his deployment. He was only 17, and his body was placed in a grave with five other soldiers.

Friday’s service included the playing of “Taps,” a three rifle volley and the presentation of an American flag to his family.

Kelly Domitrowsky, Lopa’s niece and one of his last remaining blood relatives, was first contacted by the Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Division at U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Fort Knox, Kentucky, around 25 years ago to provide a DNA sample that could be used to find a match to her uncle. It was only until last year she learned his body had been identified.

“This has been probably the single most amazing experience of my life,” said Domitrowsky, sharing her gratitude for the “overwhelming” level of support from community members who attended the funeral. “I can honestly tell you I was able to pay honor to this man that gave everything. By the response today, nobody forgot him.”

Domitrowsky’s mother, before she passed away, had told her she wished for her brother’s legacy to be remembered.

“She said just whatever you do, don’t forget about him,” said Domitrowsky. “I always carry that with me even though I’ve never had the chance to meet him. I kept faith that this was going to happen.”

Lopa’s remains were returned back to Domitrowsky, along with her husband and daughter, at the Philadelphia International Airport on June 25. Before this, his body was held in Hawaii after being returned to the United States from the grave site located in South Korea in 2018.


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