LEXINGTON, Ken. (CBS) — It looks like a normal day at Blue Grass Aiport. Staff transporting luggage carts and planes taxiing up and down the runway. But one passenger on a plane landing Thursday prompted a special airport greeting.
With a water cannon salute, rows of american flags, and family on the tarmac, Ulis Steely was welcomed home for the first time in 78 years.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotion that’s really all I can use to describe because tears, joy, all of the above,” said Lorrie Steely, his Granddaughter-in-law. Steely enlisted in the Navy days before his 18th birthday in 1934.
Serving his country for years until being killed in action during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He left behind a wife and two kids and a legacy that lived on for generations.
“He was a prankster, you know, he liked life, and it’s a shame his got cut so short,” said his nephew Coit Steely. Left with only the stories they’ve been told, the family that didn’t get to meet Ulis has always been searching for closure. “This has always been a shadow over his life, he never got to meet his grandfather, his grandfather passed away and it’s been something really emotionally taxing for him,” said Lorrie Steely.
But a phone call in March delivered some of the answers they’ve been looking for. Confirming that Ulis’s remains have been identified.. and would be flown to Lexington, Kentucky. The procession was made up of friends, family and dozens of supporters, including the Patriot Guard Riders drove 90 miles to Corbin, Kentucky.”
“I can’t even begin to believe how many are here to help us bring Grandpa home and honor him and make sure that he gets to his destination, his final destination safely,” to his final destination, where his parents placed a stone nearly 80 years ago, and where his family can now visit knowing he’s home.