Honor Deferred -Unclaimed Veterans Finally Buried With Military Honors
This last Friday and Saturday, 42 unclaimed veterans were finally buried with military honors. At least one of them had been left forgotten for 45 years. The military ceremonies were conducted in Florida and Texas, and were organized by the Missing in America Project. Another such service is planned for June.
“You can imagine how long these veterans laid in a funeral home, house, even a garage. However, at least now they have been found and they are properly honored for their service.”
Jeff Garten, US Army Veteran
How do veterans end up alone at death? Sometimes the funeral homes or veteran facilities can’t locate family. Sometimes a veteran has no close relatives. Sometimes they’re poor. Often, if one veteran dies alone, a local person will sound the call for other veterans to attend the funeral…and hundreds will show up. But no veteran should die alone and forgotten.
The Missing in America Project, a nonprofit organization that actively looks for forgotten men and women veterans, was the organizer for the two ceremonies this weekend.
The Sun-Sentinel reported on the ceremony in Florida:
The names of each veteran were read aloud during the service, including 14 who served in the Army, five from the Air Force, four from the Navy and two who were Marines.
They served the nation during World War II, and wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, as well as in peacetime. The veterans included 24 men and one woman.
The playing of taps, the singing of God Bless America, and the folding of flags…a long awaited honoring of military service. The veterans in Florida were laid to rest in the South Florida National Cemetery.
The Texas ceremony was for 17 veterans who had been sitting unclaimed in the courthouse in Abilene, according to Fox. The ceremony for them included Junior ROTC members walking in a procession, in pairs with one carrying an urn and the other carrying an American flag. They were laid to rest in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
The Missing in America Project’s website states: “The purpose of the MIA Project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations. To provide honor and respect to those who have served this country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.”
Featured photo of veteran urns in Texas from San Antonio Police Department