Unclaimed remains to get full military burials

Arlington, Va. (Feb. 20, 2004) – Members of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry “Old Guard” caisson platoon, parade the black flag draped casket of Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, during a full military honors burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Remains of 13 military veterans left unclaimed in a Detroit morgue will be buried with full military honors in a Veterans Administration national cemetery.

The bodies are the last of about 200 that were unclaimed and being held by the Wayne County medical examiner’s office. The civilian burials were completed last month.

The veterans will be buried beginning at 11:30 a.m. Thursday following a two-hour, 13-hearse procession from the morgue. State police will accompany the procession to Great Lakes National Cemetery in Oakland County’s Holly Township.

“These men served our country honorably and deserve to be laid to rest in the same manner,” said David Techner, funeral director of the Ira Kaufman Chapel in Southfield and a member of the coalition responsible for the burials.

The coalition includes the Michigan Funeral Directors Association from Wayne and Oakland Counties, The Jewish Fund, Missing in America Project and volunteers.

Funeral arrangements were coordinated by the Missing in America Project, which also led efforts to identify and verify the military service record of each deceased veteran.

Seven of the 13 veterans served in Vietnam. One was a veteran of the Korean war.

Some of the nearly 200 bodies went unclaimed for as much as three years before they were buried. The coalition stepped in when Wayne County was unable to bear the cost.

The board of The Jewish Fund, which supports community programs and services to help at-risk people improve their health, approved a grant of up to $60,000 in May to purchase caskets. The Detroit archdiocese contributed more than $400,000 for burial services and maintenance.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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