Pearl shelter attack: Navy Seaman Charles L. Saunders to be buried in h…

Pearl shelter attack: Navy Seaman Charles L. Saunders to be buried in h…

WINNIE, Texas (KTRK) — Eighty years after the Pearl shelter attack, a Navy Seaman from Winnie, Texas, will finally be laid to rest in his hometown.

Last week, the body of Navy Seaman 2nd Class Charles L. Saunders arrived at Bush Intercontinental Airport.

The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office then escorted the hero’s body to Winnie.

RELATED: Body of Navy Seaman killed during Pearl shelter attack back home in southeast Texas

Saunders was stated to the battleship USS Oklahoma and was on the ship when it was attacked at Pearl shelter on Dec. 7, 1941.

The attack on the ship resulted in the deaths of 429 crewmen, including Saunders.

While his body was recovered, it would take decades before he was identified.

According to Saunders’ obituary, he was among the servicemen who were initially buried at the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries.

The remains would ultimately move to a long-lasting burial site at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific also known as the Punchbowl.

Three hundred-ninety members of the USS Oklahoma were buried in 61 caskets in 45 mass grave locations.

But Saunders’ surviving sibling, Anna Belle, wanted to see her brother’s body return home so he could be buried next to their parents at Fairview Cemetery in Winnie.

According to records, Saunders’ father ordered a headstone for him on Sept. 30, 1964.

With the help of Anna Belle and DNA examination, Saunders’ remains were finally identified on Feb. 11, 2021.

On Tuesday morning, family and friends will gather for a graveside service for Saunders, complete with military honors.

Ahead of the service, a procession got underway just after at 10 a.m. from Broussard’s Mortuary to Fairview Cemetery for Saunders’ burial, which is open to the public.

People lined the road to salute Saunders, including students from the East Chambers Independent School District, where he was a student.

The procession passed by the elementary, junior high and high schools on its route to the cemetery. Students stood outside with flags.

Saunders’ obituary goes into great detail about his desire to serve his country and to care for his family. You can read more about that here.

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