80 years after the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, a fallen WWII hero finally had his remains returned to his family. The veteran, Francis Flaherty, was laid to rest in Charlotte, Michigan this Saturday.
Flaherty’s remains were sadly unidentified until 2019, which resulted in him returning to Michigan two years later. He served in the Naval Reserves for a year and a half before giving his life during the Pearl Harbor attack.
Fellow veteran Randy Meyer stressed Saturday that “we have to honor the people that have gone before us.”
Flaherty died protecting and saving his shipmates during the attack, earning him the Medal of Honor. However, since his remains couldn’t be identified, he was buried in one of the “Graves of the Unknowns” at a cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Flaherty’s family and friends mentioned Saturday they are beyond grateful for how many people showed up to his ceremony.
“There’s no better resting place than his hometown,” said Flaherty’s family members, Sharron and John Flaherty, “goosebumps and tears no other thing to say. Love, I’ve never seen so much love in my life. We’re happy to bring him home.”
Another WWII veteran present at the ceremony, Herbert Elfring, recollected the day Francis Flaherty died.
“Next thing I knew and heard was a line of bullets passing me about 15 feet away and I looked up and thought what is that Japanese plane doing here anyway.”
Elfring also stressed everyone should remember the war, so as not to forget the fallen.
“If we don’t have events like this to bring it to light to people it will be totally forgotten.”
After 80 long years, Flaherty now rests at Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte, Michigan.
WWII Veteran Skydives For 100th Birthday
Another WWII veteran recently made the headlines last week. Celebrating his 100th birthday, Tom Rice recreated a D-Day jump by skydiving.
Making the experience as authentic as possible, Rice jumped from a vintage WWII airplane. The plane featured the nickname, D-Day Doll, on the side, complete with a war-era pinup girl alongside the lettering.
This isn’t the first time Rice has done so, skydiving prior in 2019. While he previously dove over Normandy, France, this jump took place above his hometown in San Diego, California. The venture went well, with Rice landing smoothly in front of Coronado Hotel.
According to News4JAX, heroes like Flaherty were what inspired him to enlist. Rice states the Pearl Harbor attack prompted him to join the military.
During WWII, Rice eventually became a platoon sergeant and commanded 12 other paratroopers during the war. He served as a member of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment on the 101st Airborne Division.
Given his extensive military record, skydiving seems to be second nature to Rice, though I doubt most of us could do it at 100 years of age.