After 17 years and thousands of miles, Harry Franklin Carrier has been laid to rest.
And the World War II veteran’s nephew, Fremonter Dale Finney, has been deeply moved by all the people who’ve paid tribute to his uncle and showed respect for those who have served their country.
Last summer, Finney made a 4,300-mile-trip to visit family and then get the ashes of his uncle and bring them to a cemetery in Seneca, a village in Thomas County, Nebraska.
But he wasn’t alone on his multi-state motorcycle trek.
Representatives of groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Patriot Riders escorted Finney across the states as did law enforcement and riders from other organizations.
The trip culminated with a graveside service and dinner in Seneca.
In a few weeks, Finney plans to make another trip to Seneca — this time to place a permanent tombstone at his uncle’s grave.
Finney’s mission began after his dad, Warren Carrier of Seattle, Washington, mentioned that his brother, Harry, had wanted his ashes brought from California to Seneca.
Harry Carrier, who’s from Seneca, went into the U.S. Navy in 1943 and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was a seaman first class.
Carrier died in 2002 and his ashes went missing until they were located recently by a granddaughter in Redding, California.
Finney, a Vietnam veteran, headed out in early August, traveling to family events in Wyoming and then to see his dad in Seattle, before going to Redding.
Oregon riders accompanied him to California.
Fremonter Arthur Alston, who served in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam, met with Finney in Redding.
Patriot Guard and Legion riders from the Northern California area escorted Finney, who carried the ashes, and Alston, who took photos throughout the trip, and Harry Carrier’s son-in-law, Russ Irvin of California.
Motorcycle-riding veterans escorted the men through Nevada.
At one point, they were escorted from county to county by different sheriff’s departments across that state.
“That was cool,” Finney said.
Finney, Alston and Irvin reached Battle Mountain, Nevada, after riding in 110-degree heat. They were ready to get inside a cool motel, but that didn’t happen right away. Townspeople had other plans.
“They took us to the VFW for supper and the air conditioner wasn’t working,” Finney said, smiling.
The men received a warm welcome in the small community and even were part of a little parade.
Also during the trip, highway patrolman met the men at the state line and escorted them to Salt Lake City, where they were met by Legion and Christian riders.
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Finney’s brothers, Jerry and Jim Edelman of Casper, Wyoming, met them in Evanston, Wyoming. A busload of Mormons, who’d been retracing the Mormon Trail route, stopped at Evanston, too.
The next morning, the men learned the Mormon group had taken up a collection for them. The men appreciated the donation and kind gesture.
Finney believes it shows the prevalence of patriotism in the United States.
The group rode to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and then to Pine Bluffs.
From there, they went to North Platte, Nebraska, where they were met and escorted by a large number motorcyclists from clubs, including VFW, American Legion and HonorBound riders.
“When we left North Platte, we had motorcycles and cars strung out for miles. We really had a nice group going across,” Finney said.
The group reached Seneca, where they met Finney’s sister and brother-in-law, Patricia and Darrell Doughtry from Seattle, and his dad.
Finney said people in the little town decorated the cemetery before the group’s arrival and had made sure the road leading to it had been graded.
Pastor Ron Masten of the nearby Bethel Assembly of God Church in Thedford conducted the Aug. 18 graveside service and his son played the bugle.
The U.S. Navy Honor Guard, which covers a multi-state area, conducted the folding of the American flag. The flag was presented to Finney, who in turn, presented it to his father.
Finney describes the poignant moment.
“It was very, very moving to have accomplished what my father had wanted done for years,” Finney said.
Fremonters Jim Gibney and Al Crook of Fremont’s American Legion Post 20, made the trip to Seneca for the service as did Finney’s daughter, Carolyn.
Gibney made a temporary gravestone, which Donna Smith of Fremont, painted.
Townspeople opened Seneca’s community center where the group had a meal.
Finney appreciates all the people who joined the ride — “especially the veterans organizations that traveled the distances they did to come to that little, tiny cemetery to honor a World War II veteran that none of them knew.”
“The overwhelming support just meant the world to me,” Finney said.
Individuals, such as Alston, a member of the In Country motorcycle club, were pleased to show their support.
“People need to know there’s a price for war,” Alston said. “If they asked me to go back to war, I would go again, but I want you to know what you’re asking for — to realize the price that one has to pay. War is not glorious. It’s not pretty. It’s the closest thing to hell.”
Like Finney, he was touched by the support.
“I’m really blessed in the sense that I have the pains,” Alston said. “But little things kind of equal the pain out.”