Just 20 years old, Hryniewicz had joined the Navy less than two years earlier, eager to see the world. This month, over 80 years later, he was finally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Hryniewicz's family held onto a poignant letter from his older brother, written after the attack, urging him to get in touch and sharing the news that he had become an uncle. The youngest of five children, Frank was known for his charm and adventures in the Navy, stories his nieces and nephews cherished.

"Darn your hide! Why in hell don’t you write? Last Sunday we heard the Oklahoma had been sent to the bottom of Pearl Harbor, ever since then we’ve been sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear from you or from the Navy Department… P.S. you’re now an uncle as of last Thursday 8:30 A.M.," his brother wrote.

Hallstrom, a family member, expressed how Frank's service inspired his own Navy career. "His presence in our family did something to me, and I know that it had a big influence on me joining the Navy. I really do because I felt like there was some unfinished business there," Hallstrom said.

On a sunny May afternoon, 10 members of the Hryniewicz family gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor their Uncle Frank. It was the first family reunion in years, and the Navy provided full military honors for the ceremony. Frances Griffin, 81, named after her uncle, was deeply moved. "I've known all of this for so long. It's a part of my life and part of family lore. I was absolutely shocked that I started crying," she said.

Griffin’s father, who wrote the letter to Frank, passed away three days before Frank’s remains were identified. "I just get the feeling that my dad would be conflicted. So happy that this is where Uncle Frank is but so sad of all the things he missed in life," Griffin said.

During the Pearl Harbor attack, the USS Oklahoma was heavily strafed and capsized, trapping many sailors inside. Despite rescue efforts, 429 sailors were declared dead. The ship was righted in 1944 to recover the remains, but initially, only 35 sailors were identified. Decades later, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) began working in 2015 to identify the remains. Project lead Carrie LeGarde announced that they had successfully identified 362 of the missing sailors, providing closure for many families.

"We needed to devote a lot of time and resources to this project to be that successful," LeGarde said. "We were able to provide answers to so many family members, and that's really rewarding. It's emotional to see men being returned home or to other national cemeteries for burial, closing a chapter in those families' history."

Collision in South China Sea: US Condemns China's Actions Against Philippines Collision in South China Sea: US Condemns China's Actions Against Philippines

For the Hryniewicz family, the proper burial of their beloved uncle brought immense relief. "What I feel is an incredible sense of relief. He's home. We brought him home. And I just believe so deeply that our veterans, deceased or present, need to be taken care of," Hallstrom said.

Hallstrom also reflected on the significance of Frank being laid to rest with his shipmates. "For me, the importance of him being here is that he will not be forgotten. This is in perpetual honor. Anybody can see where he is and he's with his shipmates. And that gives me goosebumps. He's with the people who meant the most to him while he served," she said.

Frank Hryniewicz’s final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery ensures that his sacrifice and service will always be remembered.

Editor: Kemal Can Kayar