Youngest relative of Harlingen man lost at war receives his flag at Arlington National Cemetery

The following is an excerpt from, written by Travis Whitehead. All images are also courtesy of, unless otherwise noted.

Porter Spencer sits stoically in his chair as a powerful Army officer in his perfect dress blues places a flag in the young boy’s hands.

Porter Spencer is 9 years old, and he carries the blood and the name of an aviator who died defending the United States and the world from atrocities unreal and unimaginable.

The legend of the boy’s great uncle, Porter Pile, has held a continuous presence in the Spencer household all of his life. A picture of the aviator who died in World War II has a prominent place in the Spencer home. Young Porter has grown up hearing the stories.

The young Porter now has a new story to tell, about the great uncle whose remains were finally found and identified and brought home. He has the story of attending his great uncle’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery where the aviator was buried with full military honors.

Those honors included a 21-gun salute and a flyover by planes radically different from the B24 Liberator in which Pile was navigator before crashing near Kassel, Germany, in September of 1944.

“It felt really good,” said young Porter afterwards. “It felt important and special.”…

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