One of the few surviving Pearl Harbor veterans passed away recently at 97 years old. Ray Emory was fortunate enough to live through the attack that fateful day in 1941, but what makes him truly special is that he never forgot those around him who weren’t.
Ray’s Mission After Service
Ray was on a mission during the last few decades to recover the lost and unidentified remains from the attack. He believed that they should all be identified if possible and returned to their families.
Ray had lived in Hawaii for years, but eventually moved to Idaho with his son to be close to his family. Before moving, he did one last visit to the Pearl Harbor site, but this time, he was greeted by more than 500 soldiers.
We can never forget the service he and his fellow soldiers gave for our county and the era of peace that followed after the war.
Ray Didn’t Give Up
Ray Emory’s efforts to bring home the remains of fallen soldiers was not welcomed at first. Bureaucrats did not see the benefit to what he was trying to accomplish and his pleas for help were ignored until U.S. Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii passed legislation in his favor.
Ray worked tirelessly to get gravestones for unidentified remains made and marked with the name of the battleship they fought on.
He studied many records and concluded that a particular casket might the remains of multiple USS Oklahoma men and he finally got the military to grant his wish to dig up the casket. Emory’s suspicions were correct and they were able to identify the remains of 5 sailors.
What Did Ray Accomplish?
Due to all of his work, the Pentagon decided to exhume all 388 servicemen from the USS Oklahoma in Honolulu’s national cemetery in an attempt to identify as many of the remains as possible.
Since 2015, 138 sailors have been identified and 77 of these have been reburied by family members in new locations.
Because of Ray Emory’s efforts, so many families now have closure over their deceased loved ones and Ray will always be remembered as a veteran who did a great service to his fallen peers. May he rest in peace.