Pearl Harbor victim to be laid to rest in hometown nearly 80 years after the attack
83-year-old Mary Ann Lyden has very few memories of her uncle George Naegle.
"The boys were playing ball around me and I was supposed to say in the stroller, or the buggy as they called it at that time. And I just remember being around him a little bit," said Lyden.
When she was only three years old, Naegle joined the Navy during World War II.
He was stationed on the USS Oklahoma during Pearl Harbor.
"Everyone listened to the radio, there was no communication like there is today. So everyone had their ear to the radio listening for any news at all," recalled Lyden.
Two weeks later the family got news, recieving a letter saying George was missing in action.
"Not knowing what happened exactly when the torpedoes hit the ship and when it was capsizing and not knowing where he was or anything about it. We will probably never know on this earth what happened," said Lyden.
Later Naegle was pronounced dead by the Navy but his remains were never identified.
"Well there was always a hope," says Lyden. "But it seemed to be, as the years went on, it seemed to be more impossible to think that it would ever happen."
Then Lyden heard from the Defense Department asking for DNA samples from her and her oldest two sons.
"They sent us a letter first and asked if we would do it. And then they sent us a kit and we said we would do whatever we had to do," she said.
After more than 70 years, the remains of George Naegle were identified using that DNA.
"We were totally shocked and gratified when we found that they had identified him," said Lyden.
This Saturday, Naegle will be laid to rest in La Crosse with full military honors.
The service will be held at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman at 10:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
"He's coming home and he will be at rest near his mother and father and his sister in the same cemetery," said Lyden.
A final farewell for Navy Seaman 1st Class George E. Naegle.