A flag-draped casket finishes a journey that began 75 years ago.
Sailor Walter Henry Sollie was below deck of the USS Oklahoma when bombs fell on Pearl Harbor.
“He, like others, were declared K.I.A., unknown and buried together in a mass grave at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii with only a simple marker listing their names,” Commander David Gibson told the mourners.
Last year DNA testing confirmed Sollie’s identity and his remains were returned to his family, most who never knew him, ending what the pastor called a “saga of waiting”.
“He was always a part of our family even though he wasn’t alive,” says niece Iris Plowman. “We always remembered him and were aware of him.”
With full military honors, the last leg of Sollie’s journey ended at Barrancas National Cemetery. Pearl Harbor survivor Frank Emond was there to greet him. “It was great to have him back, to have a place for him here.”
The flag that covered his casket was folded and given to a niece who was almost ten years old when her “Uncle Henry” died.
Now another marker bears his name. In a place of honor for a hero, who is finally home.