BEEVILLE, Texas — It is amazing what can be said about the power of DNA.
It has helped exonerate the wrongly accused, and brought justice to the guilty. It has also united families and healed others who have lost loved ones.
For a family in Beeville, Texas, it has helped them find peace some 77 years after the loss of a brother during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
"He was 19 when he was killed at Pearl Harbor," said Betty Perkins, sister of Richard "Dick" Thompson.
Dec. 7, 1941, signaled the beginning of U.S. involvement in WWII. It was also the day Betty Perkins of Beeville, Texas, lost her brother, Richard Thompson, who was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Oklahoma.
Perkins was just 10 years old then.
"We didn't have TV then so we were listening to the radio and heard all that happening and the presidents speech and all that," Perkins said.
It would be a few weeks after that day that Perkins' family would be officially notified of Thompson's demise on the battleship moored alongside other ships in an area called "Battle Ship Row," the Japanese's main target.
"It was of course a very, very sad time," Perkins said. "It nearly wrecked my mother, but of course it especially hurt me and I looked for him for years."
Two years ago Perkins received a phone call asking that the family submit DNA samples after the government said remains long buries in a national cemetery in Hawaii would be tested for possible matching with surviving families. Last week, Perkins got word that her DNA matched exactly with her brother's remains.
"He was, I believe, one of the first releases in this last section that, you know, had positively identified his remains," said Patty Johnson, Perkins' daughter.
Johnson said the family was offered the opportunity to have their loved one buried at Arlington National Cemetery but chose otherwise.
"I decided my parents had waited long enough for him, that he should be buried with them," Perkins said.
A date for the burial has not yet been decided, but Thompson will soon be home, honored as a hero and a beloved brother.