SUTTER CREEK (CBS13) – A sailor missing for 80 years is finally home.
“It was way more emotional than I thought it would be,” said Peggy Gardner.READ MORE: Lab Experts Criticize State’s Response To Risk Of 'Serious Injury, Harm or Death' At CA COVID Testing Lab
Gardner never thought she’d see the day her uncle Leslie Delles, her father’s identical twin, would return home. Both were EMC 3’s in the Navy and the first time they separated was during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Delles was killed on board the USS Oklahoma.
“It was just kind of a shadow on his life and I was very aware of it being his daughter, and his only child,” Gardner told CBS13.
A salute can say a thousand words, but for Gardner, it spoke straight to her heart as she watched her uncle finally arrive home.
“It’s like returning a part of us that was lost for 80 years,” said Gardner.READ MORE: Nevada, California Governors Plan A Fix For I-15 Congestion
The Navy recently contacted Gardner, letting her know her uncle’s remains had been identified.
“It’s a 50-page book of all the forensic reports and anthropological reports that they did. It’s just astounding, it’s amazing what they have done,” said Gardner.
Now eight decades later, a sailor’s homecoming is drawing crowds to Sutter Creek.
“I know my dad would’ve been really proud. It’s hard for me to talk about this,” said Gardner. “I feel like part of my family is back where it belongs. I feel like it’s a legacy for my grandkids and my kids.”MORE NEWS: 4 Killed After Small Plane Crashes In Central California
Sometimes words just aren’t enough for something so special.