If you’ve never visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, you ought to scribble it onto your bucket list. It’s an incredibly somber experience.
Quietly patrolled by soldiers 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it contains the remains of unidentified fallen warriors.
Of course, not every unknown soldier stays that way. Some eventually get identified and even make their way home.
United States Army Cpl. James Cordie Rix was an incredibly brave young man from Dublin, Georgia, according to WTOC.
He volunteered for the Korean War when he was only 17 years old; his mother had to give her permission for him to enlist.
He enlisted on Sept. 14, 1949, but his military career would only last a year.
He was tragically killed in action during the Battle of Unsan, a terrible defeat for South Korean and American forces. According to the U.S. Army, strange things started to happen during October 1950.
Author Elizabeth M. Collins wrote, “A Republic of Korea unit had first battled what seemed to be Chinese soldiers, Oct. 25, and United Nations forces had begun picking up prisoners who looked different from North Korean troops. They had different uniforms.
“They spoke another language. When someone could be found to translate, the prisoners told stories of a massive Chinese force lurking in the North Korean mountains, with more fighters arriving every day.”
That force would eventually clash with U.N. soldiers in Unsan-ni, North Korea — and Rix would end up caught in the crossfire. Ammunition began to run low, and casualties started to mount.
Eventually, Chinese soldiers overran American positions, including dugouts filled with wounded. The results were horrific.
“Virtually every provision of the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of war prisoners was purposely violated or ignored by the North Korean or Chinese forces,” a 1954 Congressional report read. Rix was one of the soldiers who perished, dying on Nov. 30, 1950, at the age of 18.
Rix’s remains were returned to Hawaii where they remained unidentified until 2019, according to WJCL.
“He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart,” according to his obituary.
On Feb. 8, he was finally positively identified. Weeks later, his body was returned to the continental United States.
He received a full police escort from the airport to Union Springs Baptist Church in Alamo, Georgia. He will then be buried on the church grounds on May 4.
Rest in peace, Cpl. Rix. It’s good to have you home.
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