Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
Ground crew and others watch as a US Navy transfer team carries the remains of a United States Civil War (1861-1865) casualty from Delta Flight 1172 to a hearse during a dignified transfer at Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia on Thursday. The remains of two unknown crewmen found inside the sunken iron clad ship, the USS Monitor, were transfered for burial at Arlington National Cemetery after being discovered in 2002 and being sent to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii for possible genetic identification.
The ceremony Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington will include Monitor kin who believe the two sailors — whose remains were discovered in 2002 — are their ancestors, despite DNA testing that has failed to make a conclusive link. But the families stress that the interment pays homage to all 16 Union sailors who died when the ship went down, and nearly 100 people from Maine to California are expected to attend.
"When I learned they were going to do a memorial and have the burial at Arlington, it was like, 'I can't miss that,'" said Andy Bryan of Holden, Maine, who will travel with his daughter Margaret to the capital. He said DNA testing found a 50 percent likelihood that Monitor crewman William Bryan, his great-great-great-uncle, was one of the two found in the summer of 2002, when the 150-ton turret was raised from the ocean floor off Cape Hatteras, N.C.