Sharon Estill-Taylor never knew her father. But decades after his death, she found him.

Estill-Taylor’s father was 1st Lt. Shannon Eugene Estill, a World War II P38 pilot who was shot down over Germany in the war’s final days.

After a search that took years, Estill-Taylor found her father’s remains a few years ago, and he was honored with a military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery last year.

This weekend, another piece of closure will be given to his family. Saturday, at the Wall of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery near Margraten, Estill-Taylor will place a bronze star near her father’s name, signifying that he has been found.

Of the 1,722 names on the wall, only a handful have that star, said Thomas Budzyna, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen in The Netherlands.

“You’ll see a wall with a lot of names and only a few bronze stars,” he said.

Estill went down near Torgau, Germany, on April 13, 1945, just a few weeks before the war ended.

According to Estill-Taylor’s blog and an article she wrote last year for Lost magazine, years of the land being farmed and used, coupled with the Soviet occupation of the Eastern Germany crash site, made finding her father’s remains difficult.

“The plane and the pilot burned for three days and what remained was carted away or covered over by 60 years of farming and weather,” she wrote in the magazine. “Nothing was known of the pilot except that he was the enemy.”

After years spent poring over the correspondence between her parents, who were in their early 20s when Estill was shot down, Estill-Taylor began looking for her father in earnest. The turning point came when she began trekking through Germany.

Eventually, the aileron stabilizer — a wing component — was found that had an identifying stamp that matched Estill’s missing air crew report.

The site was excavated in 2005 by military specialists and remains were found. It took awhile longer to officially verify the site after the initial discovery.

“It would be three years before an anthropologist/archaeologist, an [ordnance] officer, three mortuary affairs officers, an Air Force photographer, a medic, a senior military officer and team leader, and one pilot’s daughter would walk onto that field to reclaim my father and his P-38 Lightning,” she wrote.

“I never felt my father’s mortal arms around me, saw my parents together, had a sibling with whom I could share them, or heard my father’s voice. Instead, I have created resurrection from the wreckage the war made of those things.”

Memorial Day observances

U.S. troops are scheduled to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies at several cemeteries across Europe this weekend.

Observances will be conducted at American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, England, Italy and Tunisia.

Aircraft from the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s 48th and 52nd Fighter Wings will conduct flyovers during several of the events.

F-16 jets and A-10 Thunderbolt II Warthogs from the 52nd, out of Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, will participate in seven ceremonies, according to a base spokeswoman.

The 48th from RAF Lakenheath, England, will send F-15C Eagles and F-15E Strike Eagles to an additional seven flyovers, according to a news release.

The Memorial Day events honor those who died during military service to their country.

For more information on the ceremonies and sites, including directions and maps, see the Web site and click on “Commemorative events.”

Following is a list of events sponsored by the commission:

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, France; 9:45 Sunday. Ardennes American Cemetery, Belgium; 10 a.m. Saturday. Brittany American Cemetery, France; 4 p.m. Sunday Brookwood American Cemetery, England; 3 p.m. Sunday. Cambridge American Cemetery, England; 11 a.m. Monday Epinal American Cemetery, France; 3 p.m. Sunday. Flanders Field American Cemetery, Belgium; 3 p.m. Sunday. Florence American Cemetery, Italy; 11 a.m. Monday. Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Belgium, 4 p.m. Saturday. Lorraine American Cemetery, France; 11 a.m. Sunday. Luxembourg American Cemetery, Luxembourg; 2 p.m. Saturday. Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France; 3 p.m. Sunday. Netherlands American Cemetery, The Netherlands; 3 p.m. Sunday. Normandy American Cemetery, France; 10:30 a.m. Sunday. North Africa American Cemetery, Tunisia; 9 a.m. Tuesday. Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, France; 3 p.m. Sunday. Rhone American Cemetery, France; 10 a.m. Sunday. Saint Mihiel American Cemetery, France; 4 p.m. Sunday. Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Italy; 11 a.m. Monday. Somme American Cemetery, France; 3 p.m. Sunday. Suresnes American Cemetery, France; 2:30 p.m. Sunday.In addition, the Army’s Installation Management Command said that several bases will hold ceremonies through the weekend.

Americans are also asked to observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., local time, Monday by pausing to honor servicemembers killed during war.

The event is sponsored by a White House commission formed, in part, to educate Americans about the sacrifices made to preserve national liberties. Additional information is at

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