The final salute

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - 11:06am

Few things are more moving than a military funeral. It’s an honor that all veterans have earned, but some never receive.

Not all military deaths are like the movies. Those who served this country didn’t just die on Omaha Beach or the Inchon Reservoir or at Khe Sahn.

My dad Mac used to joke that he was in the Army during the tough years…’46, ’47, ’48. But when he died in 1997, the military remembered. My Mom got a folded, cased flag, and there was a footstone placed on his grave. But, sometimes they die alone. Sometimes they’re estranged from family. Sometimes they’re homeless.

And sometimes when that happens, nobody knows, or even worse, nobody cares.

“Our basic premise is, we want to help somebody that can’t help themselves,” says MIAP project Director Fred Salanti. “The biggest problem in this whole issue is that once these vets get in there, because of laws and stuff, there is nobody to speak for them.”

But to the team at the Missing in America Project, anyone who donned the uniform and served their country is due the respect and gratitude of his fellow Americans. And thousands of unclaimed remains of veterans in funeral homes around the country, deserve a final resting place.

Salanti explained, “Title ten of the US code allows every veteran and dependent, which is a spouse of dependent child, to be buried free of charge in a veterans cemetery.”

The Missing in America team has made it their job to find out if any were veterans and if so, to find them a resting place.

Whether the war was hot or cold…whether you were stationed overseas or stateside, everyone who served this country did their bit.

Finding them a final home, is ours.

The Missing in America project is an all volunteer group that has so far identified over 1000 abandoned veterans and buried 855 of them.

Here’s a link to their website…
 

http://miap.us/

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