By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Arthur Vars had always heard about his uncle, Sgt. Christopher Young Vars but no one ever knew what became of him after his troop battled in North Korea and was overrun by Chinese forces near the Chosin Reservoir.
General MacArthur was in Japan and told the troops they’d be home by Christmas. That never happened in the Vars family.
“No one ever really knew what happened until his remains were found,” said Arthur Vars. “I got a call from Kentucky this past July 14, it was my father’s birthday. My father always thought about him.”
Tuesday, Oct. 6, the remains of Sgt. Vars were returned to his family and buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the family plot which include Sgt. Vars’ parents Charles Andrew Vars and Olive Francis (Leman) Vars. Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff. Baker also attended the funeral service held in Reading. Also attending services at Woodlawn were Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Everett Veterans Director Joseph Hickey and assistant Veterans Director Gerri Miranda and state veterans’ secretary Francisco Urena.
The service at the cemetery included the Westford Firefighters Pipes and Drum band and the Boston Fire Department Color Guard. Everett Fire Department Ladders 1 and 2 made an archway at the cemetery entrance with the American flag hanging in the middle. As the hearse entered the cemetery the chapel bells tolled 12 times. The motorcade was escorted by the Patriot Guard motorcyclists.
A young man living at 55 Garland St., in Chelsea, on the Chelsea-Everett border, Christopher Vars, served in the Army in World War II. He reenlisted and became part of the Company E, 9th regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division. He was classified as POW/MIA on Nov. 29, 1950. Christopher Vars apparently was captured and marched to Prisoner of War Camp #5 in Pyoktong, North Korea. His remains were identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency Laboratory and returned to his family on Sept. 9, 2015. His remains were part of 208 boxes of remains given to the United States in 1990. Remains were identified using DNA testing.
Christopher Vars was born in Chelsea on May 16, 1910 to Charles and Olive Vars. He was declared dead on Dec. 31, 1953. He had four brothers and sisters, all deceased. He his survived by many nieces and nephews and many great and great-great nieces and nephews. Nephew Arthur Vars of Reading made the arrangements for the uncle he never knew.
One niece, Carol Vars-Stout of G
eorgetown, Maine, said the space for Sgt. Vars was set aside in 2009. She is an avid genealogist and discovered Sgt. Vars in her research.
Nephew Charlie Vars, of Amherst, N.H. said Sgt. Vars had an eighth grade education and had a rough life. Today his relatives are scattered around New England, but now Sgt. Vars has a home with his family in Everett.