NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Tuesday is a day of mourning, but also a day of healing in North Little Rock.
One of Arkansas' heroes made his way home.
"Today is a special day. We bring the honor to have a family member come home. He gave his life and ultimate sacrifice on the U.S.S. Oklahoma on December 7th, 1941."
Fireman First Class Daniel Edward Reagan died in the attacks on Pearl Harbor, just a month from when he was set to be discharged. Reagan lived in Forester, Arkansas.
His body, along with 429 others, was recovered when the ship was recovered in 1944. For decades, Reagan was one of the unidentifiable – until just recently.
"We're thankful to just be a part of trying to give back a little of what he gave, today," Lieutenant Commander Richard Vagts, said.
Tuesday saw Reagan laid to rest, surrounded by his surviving family members – a half brother, just five weeks old in December of 1941.
But his funeral was full of those who knew of the man Reagan was. It's been 80 years, but Arkansas isn't forgetting that.
"It's an honor, like I said, Fireman First Class Reagan is a member of the greatest generation," Vagts said. "One of the shipmates that came before me, and so to be a part of that is just honoring and humbling."
Vagts was one of the members of the Honor Guard for Reagan Tuesday. He's done dozens of services just like this, but this one stands out.
"He would have been in the engineering spaces, and I remember being on the engineering spaces, I remember doing logs, I remember taking samples," he said. "All of that just gives this close, personal connection that, even though I've never met him before, I still feel it."
Tuesday is a day of mourning, but also a day of closure.
And it's also a day that carries a message of hope for those still looking for the answers to put their family members to rest.
"We never leave a fallen shipmate behind, and even if that takes 80 years to get someone identified and get them back home and laid to rest in Arkansas, we'll do it," Vagts said. "Because that's what we should do, and it's the right thing to do."