BOWIE, Texas (KFDX/KJTL) — On Monday at Bowie city council, Bowie Mayor Bill Miller made a proclamation in honor of a Navy sailor who died in the attacks at Pearl Harbor.
Fireman First Class Bethel Walters’ remains were recovered and will be returned home to Montague County to be put to rest in Bowie.
“They laid out the information of how they identified Bethel through the DNA, through letters we sent back that his mom had sent to him, or that he had sent to her with his saliva on it,” relative Cheryl Walters said.
“Called us a few years ago and said all the boys from the [USS] West Virginia had been raised,” Cheryl Walters said. “I never met the man, but I love him.”
As a veteran, Mayor Miller is proud to be able to honor Bethel Walters and the Walters family.
“Being a 27-year Navy veteran myself, this is something very unique that we can identify the remains and trace them back to the next of kin and that’s exactly what happened,” Miller said.
Cheryl Walters’ husband, Pat, and son, Chad, flew to Hawaii Monday to bring the remains back home, completing the journey that started so long ago.
“They will all bring him back Wednesday morning 9 a.m. we will all meet him there as a family and bring him home to Bowie,” Cheryl Walters said.
The Walters will hold a service for Bethel Walters Saturday, March 14, and Miller anticipates a large reception to honor him.
“There’s going to be a lot of folks there so it will be a great honor to give tribute to this fallen Navy man who gets to have closure for the family,” Miller said.
Along with the service, March 14, will be Bethel Walters Day in Bowie.