Skip to comments.Cremains to be interred in Sierra Vista [MIA - Missing in America]
Posted on 04/20/2011 5:33:37 PM PDT by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA For many, MIA means missing in action, signifying the location of the remains of members of Americas armed forces are unknown.
But there is another meaning for a special MIA project missing in America.
It involves the remains of indigent, homeless or unclaimed remains of veterans.
Monday, 18 sets of cremains, of veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, along with service in what is considered the Cold War, will be interred at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista, along with the wife of one of the former servicemen.
The Missing in America Project, supported by the American Legion since 2007, is designed to have a full accounting of veterans who have died but have yet to have a ceremony for their remains with appropriate military honors, Bob Day said.
The interring of the cremains will bring soldiers, sailors, airmen and a Marine to an area where other servicemen and women are located, said Day, the Arizona MIAP state coordinator, noting it will be the first in southern Arizona. Previously, three sets of remains have been interred in a Phoenix area veterans cemetery.
The finding of former veterans who have not had a proper military service is important. We believe no veteran should be forgotten because each deserves to be laid to rest with honor in recognition of their service, Day said.
Many of those who will be honored Monday 10 from Tucson and nine from Benson, including a wife were indigent, some homeless and others whose families never picked up their remains, he said.
Unfortunately, all too many times families do not pick up remains, Day said.
Of the veterans who will be interred, a dozen are former soldiers, three are sailors, two are airmen and one is a Marine, he said.
Two sets of cremains, both sailors, have remained unclaimed for more than a quarter of a century; and a soldier and his wife for nearly two decades, Day noted, adding the others died between 2000 and 2011.
Most of the time, he works with county fiduciaries and he has found the relationship growing as they better understand the project, which has existed since 2005.
Once names are provided, the paperwork investigation to determine if an individual is an honorably discharged veteran starts the culminating process, ending with approval to be laid to rest in a veterans cemetery, Day said.
It is then that someone like Joe Larson, cemetery administrator at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, becomes involved in determining where the remains will be placed.
For the 19 sets of cremains, he has chosen one of the columbaria areas where they all can be placed in niches, with the husband and wife in one.
Eventually, the panel in the front of the niche will be engraved with the persons name, rank, branch of service, what war, if any, the individual participated in, and the words Never Forgotten, Larson said.
Day said he will pick up the cremains at the Richardsons Benson Mortuary and take them to Adair Funeral Home in Benson so all the cremains will come down together on Monday.
An Adair hearse will carry the cremains, which will be accompanied by motorcyclists with American flags and led in procession by a Department of Public Safety officer, he said.
After leaving at 8:30 a.m., the cortege is expected to go down Buffalo Soldier Trail and enter the state-operated cemetery between 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., with a service beginning at 11 a.m., which will include participation by Fort Huachucas Honor Guard and representatives of the other services Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps as well, Day said.
Larson said he hopes area veteran groups and other members of the civilian community will be present at the ceremony, adding that floral donations will be appreciated.
Day said Tim Bee, who heads Gov. Jan Brewers southern Arizona office, will represent her; U.S. Sen. John McCain will be represented by a member of his staff, Bob Currio, a former Sierra Vista resident; and U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords office will have a representative riding with the motorcyclists.
Mondays interment may just be the beginning because he said he has been told Pima County officials have nearly 300 names of indigent and homeless people who may be veterans and he will begin the search through the federal Veterans Affairs data banks to see how many may be authorized a military burial service.
Nationally, nearly 4,000 veterans have been located through the Missing in America Project and given honors they deserve for serving our great nation, said Day, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.
“...18 sets of cremains, of veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War...will be interred...two sets of cremains, both sailors, have remained unclaimed for more than a quarter of a century; and a soldier and his wife for nearly two decades...”
I just don’t understand this.
Why they were not claimed by relatives and given a proper burial I don’t understand either.
Why the state do right by them I don’t understand either.
The point of the story is that WE Are Doing Right for them.
They may not have had any living close relatives. Only child, parents dead, or predeceased by brothers/sisters. I'm glad someone is seeing to it they get a proper burial.
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