Louisville sailor killed during attack on Pearl Harbor laid to rest 76 years later
Samuel Crowder's unidentified remains were buried in a mass grave until family provided DNA samples.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A sailor killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor 76 years ago is finally laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville.
Samuel Crowder was 35 years old when he was killed alongside 429 crewman on his battleship.
“It's been emotional … just seeing all the honor and respect given,” said family member John Johnson. “We're very thankful and feel very honored.”
Family, friends, and even other military members who are complete strangers paid their respects.
“I'm happy he's here. I'm happy he's home, 100 percent on his home soil,” Navy veteran Todd Matonich, with Rolling Thunder, said.
Crowder was stationed aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor, and died after the Japanese torpedoed his ship in 1941. His remains -- unidentified -- were buried in a mass grave for years until recently, when family provided DNA samples and his remains were exhumed.
Family members said its amazing how one person's life, years later, can reunite a family.
“This has almost been a family reunion. Because we're meeting family members that we have never met before from Washington, Oregon and some right here in Louisville,” Johnson said.
“This is the very first time we've met our Kentucky family. My brother and I flew out from the west coast and we have never met our cousins out here,” Fred Crowder said.
And while the day was filled with a fix of emotions, there was peace in knowing a hero who gave up his life for his country is finally home, even if it took 76 years.
“It's finally time for closure for our entire family,” Crowder said.
Family had the choice to have Crowder buried in a veterans cemetery, but family chose to have him buried near his mother at Resthaven Cemetery.
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