Richmond, VA—Four deceased veterans from central Virginia were laid to rest Tuesday, after their remains spent months—perhaps even years—unclaimed at a funeral home.
Two of the veterans served in the army, one in the navy and one in the coast guard. A program called "Missing in Virginia" identified them as being eligible for burial with military honors. Many feel that the veterans deserve this honor, even if they had faded from recent memory.
"They answered the call to duty," says John Harmon, Commander of American Legion Post 87.
Harmon explains how veterans' remains can remain unclaimed for periods of time.
"People have a hard time understanding how their loved one can be left on a shelf in a funeral home," he says, "but without going into personal reasons, it's hard to know what is going on with families so things like this happen."
Burials Operations Supervisor Tracey Vaughn says there are thousands of unclaimed remains across central Virginia. She is currently sifting through records to find the names of those who served the country.
"I researched 30 at this particular funeral home and these 4 were eligible. That's not a high number but that's 4 veterans who get the proper burial that they deserve," Vaughn says of the four veterans buried on Tuesday.
Tuesday's burial was the first of its kind at the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia. Harmon says American Legion Post 87 will continue the practice to honor their brave service.
"That's what they did for this service, which gives us the opportunity and privilege to do what we're doing today."
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