A SISTER’S LOVE FOR HER BROTHER NEVER FAILED
It was November 28, 1944 during the battle of HürtgenForest when a Texas Private, Kenneth D. Farris in the Company B 22nd Infantry Regiment, received a shrapnel wound from the German defensive bombardment. The wound was light and he was sent from the front line to report to the Battalion Aid Station. Thousands of miles from his home near Childress, Texas, the private with the bright eyes and wide smile was never heard from again. On November 29th 1945 the War Department issued a presumptive finding of death.
History little remembered the battle that was overshadowed by the more famous Battle of the Bulge. But the lives lost near Aachen, Germany were as important as any. Telegrams were delivered to heartbroken mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters and a host of family members and friends. These are the soldiers found on the battlefield or those who died in aid stations.
The families of soldiers who were not found had to wait, hope and pray. That was the case with the family of Private Kenneth D. Farris. But his family never gave up. Eventually his mother and father died never knowing what had become of their precious son. However his sister, Judith (Farris) Bingham never gave up. Judith wrote letters, made trips to Germany, France and Belgium to try to find her beloved brother.
As technology progressed, Judith used it in her tireless search for Kenneth. She searched the internet and sent emails. Finally she learned of a new technology: DNA Identification. She learned that family members could submit their DNA to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency DPAA and there was the slimmest of chances that her brother might be found. So along with her son they submitted DNA samples and prayed for the best.
Sometime around May of 1946 some remains of an unburied soldier were found in a minefield near Gey, Germany. The remains were given the designation X-2762 and they were sent to Belgium. There they were interred at what is now known as the Ardennes American Cemetery in Plot N, Row 11 Grave 273, on May the 28, 1946.
In 2016 the DPAA researched the unknowns from that cemetery including X-2762 for possible identification. Two years later they matched his DNA with his sister Judith’s and determined that Kenneth D. Farris had a name, and a family that still loves him.
On July 6th 2018 Private Kenneth D. Farris will finally return to Texas from foreign soil after 74 years. There will be a “Planeside Service” at DFW Airport at 5:15 PM. He will then be interred at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, in Texas soil.
Footnote. I learned of this story from my friends Bill Baker and Kathy Baker from Terrell. Kenneth and Judith are Kathy’s Aunt and Uncle.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” THOMAS JEFFERSON