Twins who died onboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor decades ago were buried in Nebraska on Saturday, Aug. 10, in separate ceremonies with full military honors, FOXNEWS reported.
The American flags that covered the caskets of Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Leo Blitz and Fireman 1st Class Rudolph Blitz were presented to their surviving sister Betty Pitsch, 93, at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Lincoln.
“This is a huge relief for grandma,” Pitsch’s grandson Ed McLaughlin told the Lincoln Journal Star. “For her to finally know that the twins can rest their souls and have their remains brought home, I know that’s really big for her.”
In 1938, when the twins were 17, they enlisted in the Navy.
Over the years, Pitsch heard the stories as told by Oklahoma survivors that Rudolph was seen running below deck during the attack, probably searching for his brother.
Japanese torpedoes sunk Oklahoma on Dec. 7, 1941, killing the Blitz twins and 427 other crewmen.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has been seeking to account for the hundreds of Oklahoma crewmen who were buried without being identified in the “Punchbowl” national cemetery in Honolulu. Those remains were exhumed in 2015.
In May, the agency identified the Blitz twins using DNA submitted by Pitsch, nieces, and nephews for analysis, the paper reported.
Those attending the back-to-back burials include motorcyclists from American Legion Riders, the Christian Motorcycle Association, and the Patriot Guard Rider.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but we weren’t expecting all of this,” McLaughlin said. “To know we finally have them here and they can finally rest. That’s amazing.”