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Pearl Harbor Victim Finally Laid to Rest at Home in Arlington

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On Saturday, June 24, George Coke Jr., U.S. Navy veteran, was laid to rest in his hometown of Arlington, Texas. Some may not think this out of the ordinary or unique, but for Coke’s family, it had been more than 75 years in the making. George Coke Jr. was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. In a feature by NBC DFW, Senior Pastor David Mosser of the First United Methodist Church in Arlington stated, “I never held a funeral service for somebody that died before I was born,” telling the congregation which had gathered for the funeral, “I would say we’re here to do important work, which is to remember.”

Pearl Harbor Victim Finally Laid to Rest at Home in Arlington

Photo: Facebook/Dana Dombrowski Hajder

George Coke Jr. was born in Arlington, Texas. His friends, classmates, and family members remembered him as a natural athlete with a genial smile, a bit mischievous, and having a good sense of humor. Doland Maner, Arlington High School classmate of Coke’s, said, “He had his problems like the rest of us. He spent his time in the principal’s office, just like the rest of us.” In order to join the Navy in 1941, Coke graduated from Arlington High School early. He was 18-years of age and had been stationed on the U.S.S. Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor when the attack took place, and Coke became a casualty.

Pearl Harbor Victim Finally Laid to Rest at Home in Arlington

Photo: Facebook/ Tarrant County Commissioner Andy Nguyen

His remains were unidentified until just this year, when a DNA sample from his great nephew assisted in the identification of the sailor, leading to his somber homecoming so many decades after leaving. Rear Admiral Doug Beale attended the service, and in addressing the congregation, said, “Seaman Coke, we are grateful for your service, we are grateful for your sacrifice, we are glad that you have returned to Arlington to be home.” Buried with full military honors, George Coke Jr. now rests at Parkdale Cemetery in Arlington, next to his parents, where his gravestone has awaited him for decades. Afterward, the flag from his coffin was gifted to his great-nephew, whose DNA was used to help identify the sailor and finally bring him home.

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