OVERLAND, Mo. – Relatives of Melvin Meyer have been holding out hope for decades they could find the answers they had been looking for. They heard stories their loved one was a war hero, but were never able to hold a memorial service.

“It was heart-wrenching, because all they wanted to do was find out what happened,” said Nedra Orf, Meyer’s great-niece.

Meyer was part of an air mission just days before the D-Day invasion. He was joined by other service members for an air raid over Germany. Their plane was struck by gunfire and cashed. Survivors became prisoners of war. Meyer was declared missing.

Family members recently received hopeful news. The U.S. Department of Defense notified them of the possibility Meyer’s remains had been discovered. The crash site was discovered in 2012. Excavation efforts led to some remarkable finds, including Meyer’s crucifix, his rosary, wallet, and other personal items.

“It gave us goosebumps,” Orf said.

Through dental records, DNA, and other methods, the identification was made.

Meyer’s remains will be returning to St. Louis this week.

“We always heard stories about him,” Orf asid. “He was the war hero.” She said family members have shared happy tears over news they can finally pay tribute to the man who went missing defending his country in 1944.

“He actually will be gone 79 years on Memorial Day,” Orf said.

She said the public is invited to join them in paying tribute to Meyer. A visitation is scheduled for Thursday, May 25, from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Pitman Funeral Home located at 1545 Wentzville Parkway, Wentzville, MO 63385.

Meyer’s funeral will be Friday, May 26 at 10:00 AM at St. Gianna Catholic Church, 450 E. Hwy N, Wentzville, MO 63385.

He will be buried with full military honors at Jefferson Barracks National Cemtery.

The family asked memorials be made to History Flight, Inc. 317 Williams St. Suite #1, Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Meyer’s relatives said the organization was instrumental in excavating the crash site and bringing their loved one home.