Korean War veteran finally laid to rest 71 years after his death

A Korean War veteran had a long journey home to Ascension Parish. Seventy-one years later, he is finally laid to rest today.
Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Brown Family has been part of Ascension Parish since the early 1800s. In 1885, Robert Brown founded the Mount Gillion Baptist Church. All of the Browns prayed there—moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and cousins. And when they died, they were buried in the church cemetery. They’re all there, except one.

“He walked in that graveyard himself,” Odessa Williams-Johnson said.

Lawrence Brown and his family left the rural life for Baton Rouge. He attended McKinley High in the late 40s but left before he graduated.

“He wanted to serve his country, so he decided he wanted to go early. He asked his parents to sign, and they said no,” Williams-Johnson said.

Lawrence turned 18 during his junior year and joined the U.S. Army.

“He just wanted to be part of being free,” Williams-Johnson said.

Two years later, it was off to Korea as part of the 9th Infantry Regiment known as Manchus.

“We were all concerned. We didn’t know whether he was alive or not. And definitely, the mom and dad were really upset. They would tell us about it, and we would wonder where he was,” Williams-Johnson said.

Lawrence was seriously wounded while fighting in South Korea in August of 1950 but returned to battle a month later. Two months after that, he was fighting in North Korea.

“When the Chinese attacked, he was in a foxhole and was manning a machine gun. A grenade was thrown in that foxhole. They didn’t know whether he was dead or alive,” Williams-Johnson said.

Lawrence survived the blast but was taken prisoner.

“We were hurting know knowing whether he was alive. Not knowing whether he would come back home,” Williams-Johnson said.

He died in Prisoner of War Camp 5 in March of 1951, his body thrown into a grave with so many of his comrades.

Seventy-one years later, on July 9, 2022, Corporal Larry Brown is back home—welcomed by cousins, nieces and nephews, and perfect strangers.

He was committed to the same ground as his aunts, uncles, and grandparents, near the fields his family farmed, and the church founded by his great-great-grandfather.

“Now, we have him home. We are actually bringing him home,” Williams-Johnson said.

Now, he and the entire Brown family can finally rest in peace.

The remains of two war veterans are making their way to their final resting place. This includes Cpl. Lawrence Brown and Seaman First Class John Russell Melon.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.