Honolulu, HI – Pearl Harbor Navy sailor Ray Emory is being honored for his 21-year mission to puts names on the graves of the unknown heroes who died during the horrific attack. The patriotic Navy man simply could not accept that more than a quarter of the 2,400 Americans who died when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor were left unidentified in a volcanic crater, according to the Associated Press.
The search for the names of the dead buried scattered in a volcanic crater known as the “Punchbowl” began when Emory visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific prior to the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack. Armed with nothing more than a clipboard and determination, Ray Emory set out on the labor of love.
Emory relentlessly searched documents dating back decades to give the unidentified men who died during the Pearl Harbor attack the decency they so deserved. The former sailor pushed, and perhaps even badgered at ties, until the United States government relabeled more than 300 gravestones with the ship name of the deceased.
Emory analyzes personnel deceased files, dental records, and family information and provides his reports to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, according to NewsNet5.
Ray Emory also pushed for officials to exhume the skeletal remains of those sailors who could possibly be identified by forensic scientists. Today is the 71-year anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Navy and National Park Service will hold a ceremony to honor Ray Emory, 91, for his dogged determination to make sure that those who lost their lives are remembered accurately.
National Park Service historian Daniel Martinez had this to say about Emory’s efforts at Pearl Harbor:
“Some of the time, we suffered criticism from Ray and sometimes it was personally directed at me. And I think it was all for the better. It made us rethink things. It wasn’t viewed by me as personal, but a reminder of how you need to sharpen your pencil when you recall these events and the people and what’s important.”