LUBBOCK, Texas — Petty Officer First Class Harvey Christopher Herber was laid to rest this afternoon at Peaceful Garden after being declared missing in action for 80 years. Family and veterans were in attendance to escort Herber to his final resting place and pay their respects.

The service began with a poem, prayer, and speeches honoring the US sailor. 

Herber was serving aboard the USS Oklahoma (BB-37) on December 7, 1941, when the ship came under attack in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Wayne Grehl, the assistant deputy state captain of the patriot guard riders of Lubbock, said many veterans were overcome with emotion as Herber’s remains arrived on Wednesday.

“Words cannot explain it, the emotion was beyond belief when we were on the tarmac,” Grehl said. It’s just. “It’s a heart throbbing moment that, you know, the family is going to actually have final closure.”

Herber’s nephew, Jerry Johnson said it wasn’t easy for the family, but they’re grateful they now can have that closure, thanks to the DNA match between the remains and Johnson. 

“My grandpa took it hard; I mean as the whole family at the time … Just so unbelievable what they can do, you know, with the DNA and putting everything back together,” Johnson said. 

Grehl, a retired navy veteran, said he knows the reality of serving, and when enlisting, there is never a guarantee you may come back.

“When you sign that line to serve the country you’re signing and basically a blank check saying that you’re willing to give all the way up to and your life, which he did, and he’s very well respected for that,” Grehl said.

Steve Oien, commander of chapter 0900 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said it’s moments like these that give those who serve hope, that no matter where they go or what happens, they will return home.

“Gives hopes for us should we ever have been an MIA, that we would have been returned home and our government doesn’t fail in that effort to do that, and they don’t,” Oien said. 

Grehl said while he served, they had a saying that carries on to this day, no man left behind.

“No veteran should ever be laid to rest without the dedication and the honors that they deserve,” Grehl said.