WASHINGTON — Seventy-six years after a Massachusetts man was killed at Pearl Harbor, his remains have been returned stateside for a hero’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday.
Howard Bean, of Everett, Massachusetts, was a 27-year-old Radioman 3rd Class and a crew member of the USS Oklahoma at the time. He was killed along with 428 other crew members in the attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
“It was kind of surreal to actually be there, knowing that he’s finally being laid to rest at the place that he belongs, Arlington National Cemetery,” said relative Tim Sova, 35, of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was at the ceremony with some 30 family members to see their loved one buried with full military honors. Bean was Sova’s great-uncle.
“He was a great individual; he was a great man, a very honorable guy,” Sova said. The family has long understood that Bean was off-duty at the time, but raced to the ship’s radio room to help his crewmates during the surprise Sunday morning attack, which killed more than 2,400.
Bean’s unidentified remains were exhumed last year from a mass grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu and identified through DNA.
After all these years, identification of the sailor’s remains and his re-interment in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery have brought the family relief and closure.
“We know where he is, and we’re happy he’s laying among his brothers and sisters, where he belongs,” Sova said.
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