Des Moines, Iowa — U.S. flags will fly at half-staff across Iowa on Friday in honor and memory of an Iowa soldier who was last seen 76 years ago.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Friday, September 20, 2019 to honor Army Pvt. Laurel W. Ebert, of Blairstown, Iowa, who was last seen on November 26, 1942 as his nine-person unit dispatched to clear an enemy position in the Australian territory of Papua (now Papua New Guinea). Six members of the patrol, including Ebert, failed to return and were subsequently listed as missing in action. His remains were eventually recovered and interred in the Manila American Cemetery as unknown in 1947. But in July of this year, new technology was able to reveal that the remains were those of Private Ebert.
Private Ebert will be buried with full military honors.
The memorial service will be at the Grace Lutheran Church in Blairstown at 10:00 a.m. Graveside services will immediately follow at Pleasant Hill Cemetery with military rites conducted by the United States Army.
Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.
Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.