A sailor killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor was buried March 9 in Honolulu, Hawaii, reported The Associated Press. Petty Officer 1st Class Vernon Luke grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and served on the USS Oklahoma as a machinist's mate. The sailor was killed Dec. 7, 1941 when Japanese forces attacked the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Luke was 43.

Military personnel were unable to identify Luke's remains so, at the close of World War II, he was laid to rest with 387 fellow unidentified shipmates. 

Last year, the Department of Defense exhumed the bodies of the sailors to make identifications with modern DNA testing technology, reported Time magazine. 

"The Secretary of Defense and I will work tirelessly to ensure your loved ones' remains will be recovered, identified and returned to you as expeditiously as possible, and we will do so with dignity, respect and care," Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said in a news release.

Luke was identified during this initiative. He was reburied in a Honolulu veterans cemetery. Distant family attended the ceremony that closed with 21-gun salute.

Ray Emory, a Navy veteran who served on the USS Honolulu during Pearl Harbor, also attended. Emory told The Associate Press he was happy to see that the military was finally taking action to identify unknown servicemen killed in the attack. 

"Here it is 75 years after the attack and they're finally getting around to getting some of these people identified," he said. "It's taken them a long time to do it." 

In recent years, the number of living Pearl Harbor survivors has dwindled, reported The Washington Post. Around 60,000 civilians, marines and sailors survived the attack. However, officials estimate that only a few thousand remain. Military personnel, families and historians understand that these men and women are key to keeping the memory of Pearl Harbor alive.

Over 2,000 died in the attack, which prompted Congress to declare war on Japan and enter World War II.