WWII sailor’s remains to be buried in Athens on Memorial Day

ATHENS, Ala. – The remains of an Athens sailor killed at Pearl Harbor 78 years ago will be buried in Limestone County on Memorial Day.

Water Tender 2nd Class Edgar D. Gross, 39, was buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He was assigned to the USS Oklahoma when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941.

Gross, who was one of 429 crewmen killed on the Oklahoma, was unidentified until the Department of Defense started analyzing DNA of sailors from the Oklahoma in 2015. Gross was identified last September.

The city of Athens said Athens Police, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement agencies and the Patriot Guard Riders plan to help escort Gross’s remains from Huntsville International Airport at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The remains will be taken down Interstate 565 to I-65, then off at the Highway 31 exit to Limestone Chapel.

On Memorial Day, the procession will leave Limestone Chapel at noon and go down Highway 31 to Pryor Street. Gross’s family will join the procession at the Alabama Veterans Museum, where an 11 a.m. Memorial Day service is scheduled. From the museum, the procession will go north on Jefferson Street and take Elm Street to Alabama 99, where it will proceed to Cherry Grove Baptist Church.

Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson asked that people who want to pay tribute along the route stay a safe distance from the road and not set up on private property without permission.

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