Colbert County family remembers lost World War II soldier

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Colbert County native James Jackson Baker was killed during battle in World War II. He was never returned back home. (Carter Watkins / WHNT News 19)

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – Since the Revolutionary War started in 1775, almost 1.4 million soldiers have died in the heat of battle.  On this Memorial Day, groups around the country met to honor those soldiers and the ones who never made it home.

As Tuscumbia American Legion Post 31 gathered on Memorial Day to honor their friends and fellow soldiers who died at war, a wall stood in the back of the room in remembrance.

Dozens of men killed, all from Colbert County.  All of them heroes, all of them missed by their families.

“There was four of us boys,” explained Lloyd Baker, a Vietnam War veteran and member of Post 31. “Three of us served, and only two came back.”

Baker admitted he holds back tears every time he talks about his brother James Jackson Baker.  James grew up in rural Colbert County and was drafted into the Army to serve during World War II.

When James left for basic training, his family would never see him again.

“He never did come home on leave; he went right to the foreign battlefields,” Baker said. “He was MIA in 1944 at Cassino, Italy and to this day he is still MIA.”

Fifty-five thousand Allied soldiers were killed there during the first five months of 1944 in Cassino, Italy.  Lloyd said his family has never stopped holding out hope he would one day be returned to Colbert County.

“They were always looking for him to come back, which we all were. It had a deep meaning of losing a son and a brother.”

Just one of many families who know all too well the meaning of “Freedom Is Not Free.”

One Baker son served in World War II, one in the Korean War, and Lloyd Baker served in the Vietnam War.

In honor of his brother, Lloyd Baker serves on the Color Guard for American Legion Post 31 in Tuscumbia.