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The Coming Home Project was launched by WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil in 2011 to tell the stories of veterans in transition and the issues that matter to them and their families.

75 Years After Pearl Harbor, New England Sailor Eddie Hopkins to be Buried at Home

Courtesy of Tom Gray
Swansea, New Hampshire resident Edwin Hopkins with his parents before he enlisted in the Navy.
Eddie Hopkins will be "buried right next to his mother and father in Keene, New Hampshire."

A sailor from New England who was killed during the attacks on Pearl Harbor will finally get a proper burial.

18-year-old Edwin Hopkins was killed aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, Hopkins's distant cousin Tom Gray of Guilford, Connecticut said they got the news that Eddie is finally coming home.

"About a month ago we received word he has been identified. The Navy's going to get in touch with our family and will make arrangements," said Gray. "The Navy provides transportation and we're going to have a full military service and have him buried right next to his mother and father in Keene, New Hampshire hopefully in September. It's a great ending."

Listen to the full interview:

Gray said the Navy identified Eddie's remains and the remains of 26 other sailors in 1943. But they ended up being commingled in graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

It was years later in 2008 when Gray and his relatives found out that their cousin and others had been buried in graves marked "unknown." They along with other USS Oklahoma families began requesting that the Department of Defense disinter the remains and return them to their families.

Gray said at first the DOD refused saying it didn't want to disturb the graves but seven years later, in 2015, the DOD reversed its previous stance and agreed to exhume the graves of the sailors and Marines killed aboard the USS Oklahoma.

Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.

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