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Sailor Laid to Rest: Dante Tini's Final Journey

Updated: May 25, 2019 06:11 PM

On a partly cloudy and cool Saturday, hundreds gathered to pay their respects to a sailor who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Dante Tini was only 19-years-old. He joined the Navy right after graduating from Virginia in 1940, and was assigned to the USS Oklahoma.

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He died during the chaos that brought America into World War II. "He laid down his life for a just cause. For America, and especially for his family," said Father Peter Lambert during the service at Holy Spirit. "I feel certain Dante's strong faith provided him light in his darkest hour."

His parents and siblings had held out hope, that one day the Navy would identify his remains and he could be buried at home.

Decades past. They never forgot him. And the rest of the family learned about Dante through memories and stories.

Finally, last year, his remains were matched with DNA from one of his nieces, Rachel. The remains arrived Thursday night at the Duluth Airport, in a flag-draped casket.

The funeral was filled with songs, because Dante loved music. Shannon Gunderson even played the accordion, which Dante loved to do as well.

"I have the greatest hope that Dante Tini has become a son of light," Father Lambert said. "He knew the time of war, may he now know the time of eternal peace."

Then there was a procession to the Crellin-Tini VFW American Legion post downtown, which is named in part for him. Chuck Berquist performed Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.

And finally, the military honors at the Calvary Cemetery. Members of the Patriot Guard stood watch with flags.

The Navy carefully carried the casket in to the plot. Father Lambert said, "May he sleep here in peace until you awaken him into glory."

Jets from the 148th Fighter Wing performed a flyover, to honor him. And a bugler played Taps. Then the navy presented folded flags to nine people in the family.

Dante will be buried near his parents, which was his wish when he entered the service.

After the funeral, on behalf of the state of Minnesota and Governor Tim Walz, Congressman Stauber presented members of Dante's family with a proclamation naming Saturday, May 25th, 2019 as “Dante Tini Day.” 

Rest in Peace, sailor. We salute you.

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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