Ceremony for Monitor sailors stirs familial ties
RICHMOND, Va. – A century and a half after USS Monitor sank, the interment of two unknown crewmen found in the Civil War ironclad’s turret is bringing together people from across the country with distant but powerful ties to those who died aboard.
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 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.
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