January 19, 2024

Ceremony for Lost WWII Veteran Taking Place This Weekend

1.9 min read| Published On: January 19th, 2024|

By Cindy Peterson

Ceremony for Lost WWII Veteran Taking Place This Weekend

1.9 min read| Published On: January 19th, 2024|

The Leesburg community, along with family and friends, is coming together to pay tribute to a local hero, Staff Sergeant Franklin P. Hall, who served his country with honor during World War II. Staff Sergeant Hall’s remains, lost for decades, have been identified through advanced DNA testing and will be re-interred with full military honors.

Background: Staff Sergeant Franklin P. Hall, a former Leesburg resident, was a dedicated member of the 66th Bombardment Squadron, 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy), serving in the European Theater during World War II. On January 21, 1944, while aboard a B-24D Liberator Queen Marlene, his plane came under attack by German forces near Équennes-Éramecourt, France. Tragically, he was killed in action, and his remains, along with those of his fellow airmen, were interred in a French cemetery at Poix-de-Picardie. For decades, his family never thought he would come home.

Identification and Return: In late 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) exhumed Staff Sergeant Hall’s remains from the Normandy American Cemetery in France. Through historical evidence and advanced DNA testing, it was determined with a 95% probability that the recovered remains are those of Staff Sergeant Franklin P. Hall. His name will be removed from the Tablets of the Missing at Ardennes American Cemetery, Nupre, Belgium, and a rosette will be placed next to his name to signify that he has been accounted for.

Re-Interment Ceremony: A heartfelt re-interment ceremony will take place on Sunday, January 21, at 3:00 PM at Lone Oak Cemetery in Leesburg, Florida. Staff Sergeant Hall will receive the honor he deserves with a Full Army Military Honors ceremony. The public is invited to join in paying their respects and showing their gratitude for his sacrifice.

Public Viewing:

  • Saturday, January 20, 2024, from 10 AM to 2 PM at Beyers Funeral Home & Crematory, 1123 W. Main Street, Leesburg.
  • Sunday, January 21, 2024, from 10 AM to 2 PM at Beyers Funeral Home & Crematory, 134 N Hwy 27/441 in Lady Lake.

Visitors will have the opportunity to sign a guest register and receive a flag to display at the Welcome Home Hero’s Highway and at the graveside service.

Hero’s Highway Welcome Home Procession: A Hero’s Highway Welcome Home procession will take place on Sunday, January 21, 2024, starting at 2 PM from Beyers Funeral Home & Crematory, 134 N Hwy 27/441 in Lady Lake. The procession will proceed south on Hwy 27/441 through Lady Lake and Fruitland Park to Leesburg. It will turn right off of S Hwy 441 onto S. Canal Street in Leesburg to W. Main Street, then turn right on Main Street through downtown Leesburg and proceed west to Thomas Road, where it will turn right to the entrance to Lone Oak Cemetery.

Let us come together as a community to honor the memory of Staff Sergeant Franklin P. Hall and express our gratitude for his service and sacrifice.

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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