Remains of sailor killed in attack on Pearl Harbor identified and buried
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/Gray News) - The remains of a sailor who was killed at Pearl Harbor more than 80 years ago have finally been identified and laid to rest.
Seaman First Class Elmer P. Lawrence was among the more than 2,000 people killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Lawrence had just retired for the day, according to his family, when the attack began. He became trapped and died.
Lawrence remained missing in action since then, but new technology confirmed his remains had been found.
Elmer Lawrence’s nephew, Mike Edwards, welcomed him back to Kentucky. Although he had never met his uncle, he said his mother’s stories made him curious about him.
“I can just see her face now,” Edwards told WAVE.
He said if his mother were alive now, she would probably faint after crying.
In 2015, the U.S. Navy started to use DNA to identify the more than 400 people they previously thought were unidentifiable on the U.S.S. Oklahoma. Their efforts resulted in that number dropping to just 32.
Edwards gave the Navy his own DNA to make sure his uncle was no longer a statistic.
Edwards’s wife Annette has been by his side for more than 30 years and has heard all the stories.
“It’s a glorious day,” she said. “I realize he’s already home in heaven, but we get to bring his remains home to where he lived and grew up and that’s a blessing.”
Elmer Lawrence was laid to rest Saturday in Smiths Grove, Kentucky. Lawrence’s father was buried in the same cemetery.
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