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Floridian killed in Pearl Harbor attack at age 22 finally laid to rest 80 years later

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Sailors assigned to Navy Region Hawaii and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) conduct a funeral for U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James M. Flanagan at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, Nov. 6, 2020. Flanagan was assigned to the USS Oklahoma which sustained fire from Japanese aircraft and multiple torpedo hits causing the ship to capsize and resulted in the deaths of more than 400 crew members on Dec. 7, 1941, at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Flanagan was recently identified through DNA analysis by the DPAA forensic laboratory and laid to rest with full military honors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Apryl Hall)

HONOLULU, Hi (WFLA) — A Florida native killed in the 1941 attacks on Pearl Harbor when he was just 22 was finally identified and laid to rest last week.

A small group of service members gathered at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu Friday to honor and lay to rest US Navy Seaman 2nd Class James M. Flanagan.

Flanagan, of Jacksonville, Florida, was killed at age 22 during the Dec. 7, 1941 attacks by Japan on Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack led to the United States’ formal entry into World War II.

Flanagan was assigned to the USS Oklahoma which was anchored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft. The ship sustained multiple torpedo hits, which caused it to quickly sink. More than 400 crewman aboard the Oklahoma were killed.

From Dec. 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew and identified them as “unknowns,” before moving them to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Between June and November of 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency dug up the “unknowns” to begin identifying the remains.

Flanagan’s family was unable to attend the ceremony in Hawaii due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are awaiting the U.S. flag that was dedicated to him and will be sent to them in Jacksonville, Florida.

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