I’ve been struggling with this story since I first heard about a couple of days ago.
The Pentagon is going to exhume the unidentified remains of more than 400 sailors and Marines who died on Dec. 7, 1941 aboard the USS Oklahoma, one of several warships sunk in the sneak attack that brought the United States into World War II.
Why the struggle?
I cannot decide if it’s totally necessary to use DNA technology that’s now available to identify the remains that have been resting in peace in “unknown” graves since “the date which will live in infamy.”
Their remains were reburied in a Honolulu national cemetery in 1950. Some of the remains reportedly were “co-mingled” with others’ remains. So it’s not clear who’s buried in each of the graves.
I understand that the technology now available will allow — through painstaking work — forensics experts to identify the remains. It will take time, perhaps years, to finish the job. Indeed, the family members deserve some closure and identifying the remains will give it to them.
However, the family members of the 429 sailors and Marines who were lost have known they were lost aboard the Oklahoma when it capsized at its mooring after being hit by enemy bombs and torpedoes.
Does it do any good now to exhume those remains and subject them to meticulous DNA research?
Why not simply let those heroes rest in peace?
I’m open to comments on this one. Your thoughts? Please?
One thought on “Do we need to ID remains from Pearl Harbor?”
I understand and appreciate your question. My simple answer, though, is that we owe it to these men and their families to do everything in our power to give them their identities back, if we can. Yes, we could respectfully let them continue to rest in peace, but we will do this out of love and respect, as well. Remember, it is only the flesh that is in that cemetery; their brave souls will continue to be undisturbed, in the arms of angels.
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