DES MOINES, IOWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Navy Fireman 1st Class William Kennedy was among the 429 USS Oklahoma crew members who died when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor.
But his body was never positively identified — it took another seven decades for the Navy to do that.
And in February, his family got the news: Kennedy would be coming home.
On Friday, hundreds gathered in his hometown of Titonka, Iowa to remember Kennedy and finally lay him to rest.
"We are here to honor his life and his service to our country," said Rev. Todd Hartsock, of the Titonka United Methodist Church. "I heard that many years ago Ma Kennedy said that William would be coming home for Mother's Day. She was right."
Sharon Miller, Kennedy's niece, told a local TV news station that being able to bury the veteran offered the family the opportunity for closure.
"He was a hero," she said. "Now, he's brought home."
The Navy used DNA to positively identify Kennedy. Earlier this week, his remains were flown to Des Moines. And after his memorial service, his casket was escorted to his final resting place, where a 21-gun salute was delivered graveside. He was buried next to his mother.