LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Steely family waited with American flags in hand on the tarmac at the Blue Grass Airport on Thursday.
The Delta flight they'd been waiting for landed just before 4:15 p.m. and was welcomed with a water salute by two firetrucks.
"Wow...that was something," Lorrie Steely said as the salute ended.
The plane came to a stop and workers began to remove a casket.
"It's bittersweet because we never got to meet him, it's exhilarating because he's coming home," she said.
Lorrie Steely is married to Dean Steely, a grandson of Ulis Steely, who was serving in the Navy aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was hit during the attack on Pearl Harbor. That was nearly 80 years ago.
"This has always been a shadow over his life, he never got to meet his grandfather," Lorrie Steely said. "His grandfather passed away and it's been something really emotionally taxing for him."
It wasn't until 2015 that Ulis Steely's remains were identified. On Thursday, they were returned to Kentucky, landing at the Blue Grass Airport and then escorted home to Corbin.
"This means everything to the family for him to finally get to be home and buried in Corbin next to his family," she said.
A memorial service for Ulis Steely will be held at Grace on the Hill Church in Corbin at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 5.
He'll be buried in the grave site purchased for him nearly 80 years ago.