WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — On Saturday, Fireman 1st Class Bethel Walters was laid to rest in Texas, over 78 years after his death in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Family members who never got the chance to meet Walters say this special service is the closure they needed.
“When we stepped off the plane at DFW, I told the guys, I said ‘when that honor guards foot hits that pavement, it’s the first time he’s been on Texas soil in 80 years,” Walters’ nephew Patrick Walters said.
Jeremy Page is a machinist mate nuclear one in the United States Navy and married Bethel Walters’ great-niece. Page said it was an honor to be apart of it all.
“Every service member that I know from Texas, we all want to come back, that’s the end goal is to come back to the great state and it was an honor to bring Bethel back,” Page said.
A journey that took 80 years, 15 of those to identify and bring Bethel back home.
“A big chapter has written and read and the books closed on it, so I just wish now, maybe I can help someone else go through the same thing because it’s a challenge,” Walters said.
Page says it’s moments like these that show you it’s all worth it.
“When you’re in the service and you’re in the Navy, doing our jobs, it’s a stressful job, so having the opportunity to come here just gives us a different perspective, like people really appreciate what we do and their supportive,” Page said.
A story long enough to fill a book, with the Walters’ finishing the last chapter with a story-book ending.
“It happened… it’s here and it happened is the most important part, now we’ve got a big closure in our lives,” Walters said.
For more than 80 years, Walters went without a true home but now, he’ll rest in peace in his home state of Texas forever.