LEWISPORT, Ky. (WEHT)- A homecoming nearly 80 years in the making and a fitting tribute for a fallen sailor. Martin Young was only 21 when he, along with hundreds of other sailors, died aboard the USS Oklahoma during the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 but his legacy lived on.
Layman Hawkins Jr. says his mother, Young’s sister, talked about him throughout her life, adding that he felt as though he knew Young better than some of his other uncles despite never meeting him.
Hawkins notes that the family was taken aback by the love and support shown throughout the Lewisport community, including hundreds of flags lined up around the town and cemetery. Hawkins says he couldn’t even speak at his late uncle’s funeral.
600 of the flags were donated by The Flagman’s Mission Continues, an Illinois-based organization that honors fallen service members with flag displays in the run up to their funeral. CEO Jeff Hastings says it’s an honor to be allowed to perform his service, noting how proud he is to do it.
Young’s funeral came with a motorcycle escort from Rolling Thunder Kentucky. Member and veteran Todd Matonich says the group keeps the memory of POWs and service members missing in action alive, never forgetting their story, and honoring them once they return.
(This story was originally published May 15, 2021)