SAN ANTONIO -- An emotional first hello and a goodbye all on the same day. Charmaine Lake Wade, 67, a woman who never met her military father, made peace with his death today.
Charmaine Lake Wade's father disappeared during World War II when she was just a baby. Now after nearly seven decades, she seems to now have closure.
"I'm so very proud that he served his country," Wade said.
Standing next to an American flag draped casket is the closest Wade has been to her father in nearly 68-years.
"I'm so sorry that he didn't live, but I'm so happy he came home," Wade said.
On October 27, 1943, twenty-five year old 2nd Lieutenant Edward J. Lake was among 12 crew members missing in action. This occurred when their B-24D liberator crashed in New Guinea while serving in World War II.
His daughter drove to San Antonio from Corpus Christi on Friday for a private meeting at a south side funeral home. This represented an introduction and a farewell to her dad.
"He was killed when I was three months old and so I never saw him and he never saw me," Wade said.
Wade eventually got married and started a family. But the disappearance of her father was always a mystery, until a phone call from a genealogist in 2005.
"He said he had been looking for me because the army thought they had found the plane that my father was on when it was reported missing,” Wade said.
After years of testing Lake’s remains, he was positively identified in 2010.
“It's just amazing. They take bone fragments. That's all they had were bone fragments," Wade said.
This Tuesday, the airman's remains arrived in San Antonio with a military escort for burial. Lake, who would have turned 93 years of age this year, will receive a burial with full military honors and a flyover. It's a sight Wade wishes her mother, who passed away in 1982, could experience firsthand.
"I wish she could have been here to see this I really do wish she had," Wade said.
On Saturday, February 19th, a funeral mass is scheduled for 2nd Lt. Lake at 12:30 pm at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church. He will then be laid to rest at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery at 2:30 pm.