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Cremated remains of unclaimed veterans buried at the South Florida National Cemetery

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Posted at 9:52 AM, Nov 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 19:02:13-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — 19 veterans and 5 spouses found their final resting place at the South Florida National Cemetery on Wednesday morning.

They were laid to rest with full military honors in a special ceremony.

"It's just sad to think that nobody has a family or a friend," said Nancy Wall, who attended the ceremony.

According to the National Cemetery Administration, an unclaimed veteran is defined as "those who die with no next of kin to claim their remains and insufficient funds to cover burial expenses."

The veterans interred on Wednesday served in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Navy during World War I, World War II, as well as the Korea and Vietnam Wars.

"It's an honor they did so much for us. It's the least we can do," said Wall.

That's the mission of the Missing In America Project: identifying unclaimed remains and giving them the honor they deserve.

"For any veteran that served in any branch of service to be sitting unclaimed on a funeral home shelf is just not right, and the spouses as well, because they serve along with the veterans," said Kathy Church with the Missing In America Project.

One veteran who was laid to rest on Wednesday has been unclaimed for 51 years.

The Missing In America Project has at least four events like this one planned throughout Florida within the next year. To learn more, click here.