Nephew honors uncle lost at sea on USS Indianapolis on anniversary of ship’s final sail

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Monday marked the 73rd anniversary of the day the USS Indianapolis sank. To honor the people who served on its final sail, Michael William Emery stood for an honor watch by the USS Indianapolis National Memorial at the north end of the Canal Walk.

It was the third year Emery stood on the day of the anniversary. He makes the trip from Concord, Massachusetts to honor his uncle, William Friend Emery. Emery never met his uncle but has his namesake.

"My uncle Bill was one of 879 men who were lost at sea, out of a total crew of 1,196," said Michael William Emery.

The back of the monument lists the nearly 1,200 people were on the ship when it was attacked. It includes Emery's name. Michael William wore a shirt of his uncle in his military uniform while standing watch.

The nephew began his watch at sunrise, which was 6:40 a.m., and will leave at sunset, scheduled for 8:59 p.m.

"I felt it was important to come down from Boston, to be in this amazing city, and to stand watch," Michael William said. "I am here by myself, yet, all my Indy family is with me. The survivor families, the lost at sea families, the lost and recover families, as well as the friends and former crew. They are all with me today and I represent all the families."

The Emery family brought a wreath of flowers to put by the monument, honoring William F. Emery and the other men who were lost at sea.

Last week, a reunion was held for the remaining survivors and loved ones of the men who were on the final sail. Emery said there are only 14 members still alive, and only five made the trip.

The families all had roses, with notes to their loved one attached, which were also placed by the monument Monday.

Emery said some visitors on the canal will stop to ask what he is doing and some will share war stories they know about their relatives.

“It's amazing to hear their stories about their loved ones who served in the military and share my uncle's story," said Emery.