Oregon vet killed at Pearl Harbor buried at Arlington National Cemetery 75 years later

Verdi Sederstrom's remains arrive at Arlington National Cemetery.

It took 75 years for Verdi Sederstrom’s remains to be positively identified, but just a few months later he was laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Sederstrom served in the Navy during World War II. He was aboard the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor during the attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Torpedoes sunk the ship and killed more than 400 sailors, including Sederstrom.

For nearly 75 years, Sederstrom’s remains could not be positively identified, but in November DNA and dental records provided by family solved the puzzle.

On Tuesday, family say representatives with the Navy boarded a flight from Hawaii to Baltimore along with Sederstrom’s remains. Family were at the airport waiting for the arrival.

“The Navy was able to get about 15 or 20 of us into Baltimore International Airport,” recalled Rob Sederstrom, Verdi’s nephew.

Sederstrom’s family says two fire trucks were waiting on the tarmac and created an arch with their water cannons for the plane to drive through as it taxied to the gate.

“We were told the captain had just come on the loudspeaker of the plane and was telling the passengers what was going on. ... The captain asked that all passengers would remain on board because the honor is that Verdi should be the first person off the plane,” said Rob Sederstrom.

The casket was removed from the plane and then taken to Arlington National Cemetery with a military escort, according to family. On Wednesday morning, more than 30 family members attended the burial, including one man who came from his Army post in Korea.

“The Arlington chaplain then said some words about the cemetery and the hallowed grounds that it is. The bugle played taps. He stayed probably 40 or 50 yards away from us which is really cool in the crisp morning air. Then there was a full gun salute, a neat part of the ceremony,” Rob Sederstrom said.

Rob Sederstrom said it was harder than he anticipated, but overall a great experience. He said it was amazing to see how the military takes care of its own.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off