LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala - A hero is finally home. The remains of a Limestone County man who died while serving in the Navy during WWII were finally brought back to his family. Days later his funeral was held on Memorial Day.
Edgar Gross died while serving in Pearl Harbor. He was working on the U.S.S. Oklahoma on December 7th, 1941. He was one of the men killed during the attack.
77 years and generations later, Gross' family finally got answers and closure they were searching for. 77 years is a long time to wait.
"I have to pinch myself it's been so long," said Stephen Gross. Edgar is his great-uncle.
The family was present at the Limestone County Memorial Day celebration to honor deceased veterans. Members of the Gross family were asked to stand and be recognized during the event.
They say they are living their grandparents' dreams.
"I can't tell you how many times I heard them say I hope I live to see the day Uncle Ed comes home. Today is that day," he said.
Edgar Gross was honored as an American hero. After the event, a procession drove by carrying the sailor. People stood on both sides of the road to see him off.
"We've really been blown away. The people standing on the side of the road holding flags with hands over their hearts," said Linda Boeko, Gross' great-great niece.
The procession ended at Cherry Grove Baptist Church where a funeral was held for the sailor. It was standing room only.
"It's a testament to this community that a fallen son that has finally returned home after 77 years, five months, and 20 days that they're welcoming us like they are," Gross said.
The family finally got to say their goodbyes to the World War II veteran.
"It is historic. We'll never see anything like this again," Boeko said.
Edgar Gross was taken to the family's cemetery plot. Truly being reunited with the people who never gave up hope that one day he would return home.
No man is left behind in the Gross family. And they never give up hope. They reserved his final resting place in 1941 and kept it all these years so that when he was found and returned home it would be available for him.