WEAUBLEAU, Mo. A Navy sailor killed more than 75 years ago in the attack on Pearl Harbor has finally come home. Navy Fireman 1st Class Charles W. Thompson will be laid to rest tomorrow. But he received a hero's welcome, arriving back in Hickory county today.
19 year old Charles Thompson died December 7th, 1941 aboard the USS Oklahoma. Icel Lee Richter of Weaubleau remembers his memorial service. "It was in the high school building, and it was in they gymnasium, and I remember they set up chairs, and it seemed to me like there was a big crowd there," says Richter.
Weaubleau is expecting a big crowd again. Thompson's remains were just recently identified through DNA analysis, matching him to a niece and two nephews. Navy Fireman 1st Class Charles Thompson's remains arrived in Kansas City today and headed back to Hickory County.
Richter's daughter, Jo Ann Zimmerman says, "Somebody called us from downtown and said, he had landed in Kansas City and he would be passing through here. So the town got together, several of them, ended up putting up the flags, and was trying to get as many people, even though it was last minute."
Thompson was escorted by the patriot guard riders, and people lined the streets of Weaubleau to welcome him home, more than 75 years after he died serving our country.
"It was amazing to me to be able to see this day come. I was 90 last January," says Richter.
Charles Thompson's name is on a brick at the Weaubleau Veterans Memorial, but his community is thankful he'll now finally have a resting place there too. "It's amazing that now, finally after all these years he could be identified. And I'm sure it's very gratifying for the family," Zimmerman says.
Tomorrow, Thompson's family and community will honor the World War II hero once again, and finally lay him to rest at home. "I was glad to see this happen," says Richter.
A service will be held tomorrow morning, Saturday June 17 at 9AM at the Hathaway-Peterman Funeral Chapel in Wheatland, with burial following at Fairview Butcher Cemetery, where Thompson will be buried next to his mother.