ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Memorial Day weekend is to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom.
On Sunday, more than 300 people attended a visitation for World War II veteran Edgar Gross, who died on board the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
His body was recently identified and his remains are now home in Limestone County.
“He’s finally coming home after 77 years, five months and 20 days, but who’s counting,” said Stephen Gross.
Stephen Gross never met his great-uncle, but that didn’t stop him from searching for answers or his great-uncle’s unidentified remains.
“This all started with Dee Dee King, who’s a contracted genealogist for the Navy POW/MIA department. She started putting those pieces together,” he said.
It took several years, but she put the puzzle together and traveled from Texas to be in Athens for Sunday’s visitation and Monday’s funeral and burial.
“In 2009, the Navy started issuing me work orders for the USS Oklahoma. There were more than 320 cases that I’d work on in the next three years, and in 2011, I contacted the Gross family,' said King.
The DNA was a match and now American hero Edgar Gross will have a respectful burial.
“He’s being buried next to his father, George, in Evans Cemetery, which would be considered the family’s cemetery," said Stephen Gross.
Edgar Gross’ mother and several of his siblings are also at rest at Evans Cemetery.
The funeral and burial will take place at 2 p.m. Monday. The public is invited.