EAST FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (PIX11) – With no family to claim them, their legacies were fading away, on the verge of disappearing forever. But not on this day.
“It’s always good to finally get these individuals buried with military honors,” said Ernie Diorio of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12. “Majority of the time, these people are left on a shelf 30 years, 40 years, 50 years. Nobody claims them.”
Twenty-one veterans and six spouses of the World War I, World War II, Vietnam War and Korean War eras are finally receiving the burial they deserve. In the case of one World War I veteran, his remains sat on the shelf of a funeral home for 94 years, until now.
In a ceremony Thursday morning, each veteran’s name was announced along with the branch they served in.
Their remains were placed in an urn and escorted down to Brigadier General William Doyle Memorial Cemetery in Burlington County. Helping the VVA chapter in the effort was the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
“The least we can do for veterans unclaimed by any family members is to give them a proper tribute and a proper send-off,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.
“You get a good pleasure out of this by having these people taken care of after so many years,” said Diorio.
VVA 12 said it has interred more than 150 unclaimed veterans.