Governor orders flags at half-staff to honor WWII sailor

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Navy Fireman 1st Class Bert E. McKeeman of Council Bluffs was killed in action on Dec. 7, 1941, when the USS Oklahoma was attacked by Japanese aircraft at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. His remains were identified three months ago.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday ordered all flags in Iowa to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Saturday, Dec. 1 to honor a fallen U.S. sailor.

Navy Fireman 1st Class Bert E. McKeeman of Council Bluffs was killed in action on Dec. 7, 1941, when the USS Oklahoma was attacked by Japanese aircraft at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The remains of the 25-year-old Iowans were accounted for Aug. 13, 2018. McKeeman’s body was returned to his family for burial in Council Bluffs with full military honors.

McKeemam was born July 23, 1916, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to the late Roy F. McKeeman Sr. and Rosie Mae (Kirkle) McKeeman.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Earl and Roy F. McKeeman Jr.; and sisters, Bertha and Erma McKeeman.

Bert is survived by many nieces and nephews and extended family.

It has been 77 years and thanks to the U.S. Navy’s dedication and DNA testing, Bert’s remains are coming home to be buried next to his parents.

Visitation will be Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral Home, 1221 N. 16th St., Council Bluffs. Funeral services will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be in Cedar Lawn Cemetery.

The governor’s statement said flags will fly at half-staff on the Iowa State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.

Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect, the governor’s statement said.

1 COMMENT

  1. As the son of a World War II veteran and past commander of the American Legion Post 85 in Perry, I thank you for the announcement and remembrance of this veteran, lost on that tragic day. –Mike Kelley

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