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A sailor killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor is buried in Effingham County | Main stories

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WAND) — A sailor who died in battle more than 80 years ago has returned home to rest.

Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Keith Tipsward died while serving aboard the USS West Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His remains were unidentified until his family submitted DNA so they could be matched.

“Beginning with the USS Oklahoma, there has been a great effort to identify remains and sailors who, at the time they were buried, did not have the technology to view the remains and identify them,” said Lt. Andrew Fox, Commanding Officer of the Center of the Navy Reserve in Peoria.

Tipsword’s remains were brought back to Central Illinois by a team of Navy sailors. Lieutenant Commander Fox was the Tipsword family relief officer. He said bringing these sailors home means a lot to the families and those involved in the process.

“I saw some of these Pearl Harbor sailors, you know, come back and be buried in their communities and they were different,” Fox said. “It definitely has a feel to it.”

Flagman’s Mission Continues is an organization that places flags along the route of veterans funeral processions. At Tipsword’s funeral, they placed more than 400 flags between the funeral home and Macassina Cemetery in Beecher City.

“You can see the love and the outpouring that comes from everyone when we go here, that they really care about Keith and miss him and feel a closeness with him coming back,” Fox said. “It’s great to see the support from the community and to see him being honored.”

The Flagship mission continues is looking for volunteers to help take down the flags on Wednesday. Those interested in helping should meet at VFW Post 7676 in Altamont at 1 p.m.

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