The attack on Pearl Harbor happened over 80 years ago now, but America will never forget the “day that will live in infamy.”
Obviously, most of those who lost their lives in the attack have been properly buried and honored. However, there are some who were never found, which is difficult for their families.
The good news is that the search continues — and one Navy sailor finally got his funeral, and a surprise farewell.
Herman Schmidt was a member of the U.S. Navy and he was lost when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. Like so many, he was very young when he died: only 28 years old.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until just recently that they were able to identify his remains. Thanks to advances in DNA technology, the military has been able to identify more lost souls.
According to this press release, they were only able to identify 35 men from the USS Oklahoma and Schmidt wasn’t among them.
But now his family has some peace … though at first, they were worried that nobody would show up to the funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Boy, were they wrong (via the Daily Wire):
Hundreds of Americans swarmed the funeral of Herman Schmidt, a member of the Navy who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor but whose remains were only recently identified, after some were concerned no one would appear to honor the deceased sailor.
Former journalist and chief communications officer of PenFed Credit union Andrea McCarren shared the story on social media:
There was definite concern that nobody would come to Schmidt’s funeral, perhaps because WWII is sadly a distant memory for so many and a lot of people who knew Schmidt are gone.
But when people found out, the response was magnificent.
ANYTHING is possible when people work together. More than 500 strangers attended funeral of WWII hero Herman Schmidt, whose only survivor is in poor health. There was fear that no one would show up. Schmidt left behind a wife & newborn baby. His remains were recently identified. pic.twitter.com/wMFeNgDplx
— Andrea McCarren (@AndreaMcCarren) February 23, 2023
This Navy sailor gave his life for his country, and hundreds of American citizens weren’t about to let that go unrecognized.
Schmidt came from Sheridan, Wyoming and served as a gunner on the USS Oklahoma, which got hit with numerous torpedo strikes and enemy aircraft barrages. This resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen.
The unfortunate sailor in question left behind a wife and infant son; that son is now 82 years old but wasn’t able to attend his father’s funeral:
‘I have mixed emotions,’ Michael Schmidt said during an interview with The Washington Times. ‘I thought it was fantastic that they did it.’
Michael didn’t know his father was to be buried with full military honors, so at least that must’ve come as a pleasant surprise.
While the funeral reaction is wonderfully patriotic and something to cheer about, the situation is common: there are still tens of thousands of American personnel missing in action.
The Defense Department says about 80,000 are still MIA, and less than half that number might be recoverable.
One of the biggest problems is that most soldiers who participated in certain wars – like the Korean war – didn’t have DNA on file, which makes identifying remains almost impossible.
But at least in the case of Herman Schmidt, there’s some closure. And it’s always nice to see Americans saluting their ancestors!
- A Navy sailor who lost his life in the Pearl Harbor attack was recently laid to rest.
- There was concern that nobody would attend the funeral, but over 500 patriotic citizens showed up.
- There are still tens of thousands of lost military personnel on file, and the search continues for so many.
Source: The Daily Wire