CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Charlotte native Francis Charles Flaherty, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, came home almost 80 years later to be laid to rest at the Maple Hill Cemetery.
"To be able to bring his remains back to his hometown after 80 years, almost 80 years, was an honor on the family's part," said John Flaherty, his nephew.
When the Japanese attacked, Francis Charles Flaherty stayed aboard the USS Oklahoma in a gun turret, holding a flashlight for others to be able to see and escape, sacrificing his own life. He received a Medal of Honor posthumously.
On Saturday, the Charlotte Fire Department hung the American flag high as cars and bikes entered the cemetery. The funeral was packed as people paid their respects.
World War II veteran Herbert Elfring, 99, came to pay his respects.
"It's something that I can relate to, in a way even though I was Army because we were attacked, as well as the Pearl Harbor shipping on Dec. 7," he said.
Elfring was proud to show support for Flaherty, he said, "I just felt that I was being honored to attend."
The funeral ended with a three-volley salute by the U.S. Navy and Jets flying over the cemetery to honor Flaherty one last time.
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