WWII Veteran’s remains returned home after 80 years

Flaherty laid to rest in Charlotte Michigan.
Flaherty laid to rest in Charlotte Michigan.(Kaylie Crowe)
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 9:22 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -A World War II hero from Charlotte Michigan was laid to rest 80 years after his passing. Francis Flaherty died in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Flaherty served for a year and a half in the Naval Reserves before he died in the attack that stunned the United States. His remains weren’t identified until 2019, two years later and he is finally in his rightful resting place.

“We have to honor the people that have gone before us,” said veteran Randy Meyer.

Francis Flaherty of Charlotte died trying to protect and save his shipmates during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic work. However his remains weren’t identified until two years ago. For the last 80 years his remains were buried in one of the “Graves of the Unknowns” at a cemetery known as the Punchpowl in Honolulu. He has now been brought back to rest at home in Charlotte. Family and friends say they are grateful at how many people showed up to his ceremony.

“There’s no better resting place than his home town,” said Flaherty’s family, 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.”

Veteran Herbert Elfring survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. He recounts what that day was like.

“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,” said Elfring.

Elfring says he wants the younger generation to remember the history of the war.

“If we don’t have events like this to bring it to light to people it will be totally forgotten,” said Elfring.

Francis Flaherty now rests at the Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte, Michigan.

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