“To our heroes who sacrificed their lives in Pearl Harbor that winter day, we salute you with honor for united we stand. That’s the American way.”
— “Pearl Harbor, We Remember,” by Kym Gordon Moore
It is a rare occasion when someone returns home after being missing in action for 77 years. In the case of Clifford Goodwin, it is bittersweet.
Clifford George Goodwin, a young man who grew up on a Diamond farm, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 30, 1940. His homecoming was a funeral service on Saturday in the same small town where he had lived and attended high school. Absent from that funeral were all the members of his immediate family — his parents, his sister and his seven brothers.
Goodwin died on Dec. 7, 1941, at the age of 24. He was serving on the USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor.
“Clifford and Dan Goodwin, sons of Mrs. Clara Goodwin of Diamond (their father George J. Goodwin had died before the brothers enlisted) are in the U.S. Navy stationed on a battleship in Hawaii,” the Globe reported. Unknown at the time was that Clifford had already been killed when the Oklahoma rolled over at Pearl Harbor. Nearly a month later, the family had learned Dan was safe but had heard nothing about Clifford.
Clifford was among the 429 who died. Remains of those who were aboard the USS Oklahoma were recovered and buried in a casket with other unknown sailors’ remains in the National Cemetery of the Pacific.
Thanks to the work of his closest next of kin, Clifford’s remains were able to be identified through DNA samples. No longer does his official record read “missing in action.” Rather it has been changed to “killed in action.”
Seaman First Class Clifford George Goodwin finally came home on Saturday and was buried with full military honors. He was surrounded by about 60 family members.
His story is one that encompasses duty, valor and a family’s persistence to bring a young man home.
We are honored to tell that story on today’s front page.
As Moore’s poem says, it is indeed “the American way.”