Residents will have potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pay their respects to a fallen soldier from a bygone era. 

The remains of Billy Joe Butler, who died in a North Korean POW camp 69 years ago, were identified last year, and they’ll be arriving in Kerrville on Wednesday, according to the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office is providing an escort from an airfield in San Antonio to Kerrville Funeral Home, where there will be a visitation  from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 25. The service will be Friday, July 26, at 10 a.m. in the funeral home’s main chapel. A funeral procession will follow to Nichols Cemetery, 2900 Junction Highway. 

There will be more details in the weekend paper and online at

We echo County Judge Rob Kelly’s request that residents turn out to the services and stand along Junction Highway during the procession to the cemetery.

It scarcely needs to be noted by us that no amount of years lessens the honor owed to a fallen American soldier. 

Counting the arrival of Butler’s remains on Wednesday at an estimated time of 1 p.m., residents have four opportunities to demonstrate their gratitude to Butler and his family.

Butler was born in Kerrville, graduated from Tivy High School, worked for a while at the Blue Bonnet Hotel, and wanted to join the U.S. Army at age 17, in 1948. His parents initially were opposed but eventually signed the necessary paperwork. Butler was captured by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Force in 1950, and he died the following year. 

It will no doubt be extremely hot along Junction Highway on the 26th. Let’s not let some temporary discomfort keep us from demonstrating that Kerr County citizens believe in honoring the country’s fallen, no matter how many years have passed.

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