Veterans’ unclaimed cremains to be buried Wednesday in South Florida

The unclaimed cremains of 19 veterans, and five spouses of veterans, will be interred with full military honors, at the South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. Those being honored included veterans who served in the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force, during World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.


By LOIS K. SOLOMON | Sun Sentinel | Published: November 5, 2019

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Veterans who died in South Florida without any family to claim them will get full military honors on Wednesday during a ceremony at South Florida National Cemetery.

The ceremony, open to the public, will include the burial of 19 veterans and five spouses of veterans. The veterans served in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The cremains of at least one have been unclaimed since 1968, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The ceremony marks the 22nd time unclaimed veterans’ cremains were given a resting place in Florida, said Kathy Church, state coordinator for the Missing in Action Project, which has worked with funeral homes to locate unclaimed veterans’ cremains and bury them in military cemeteries since 2007. There are nine national veterans’ cemeteries in Florida.

Church said there are a variety of reasons why the veterans’ remains have never been buried. Some were estranged from their families; others were indigent. For others, there were miscommunications between their families and the funeral home.

The project will not release the names of those interred until after the ceremony, Church said. But 12 of the veterans served in the Army, six in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps. Three served in World War I, three in Vietnam and one in Korea, and the rest served in World War II.

Among the spouses, all women, four are from the Army and one from the Navy. Two of the veterans to be buried are women, one from the Army and one from the Navy.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office will lead an escort of the cremains beginning at the Wellington South Super Target Store, 5900 State Road 7. The processional is open to motorcycle riders and anyone who wants to participate. Meeting time is 8:30 a.m., with the escort departing at 9:15 a.m.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. The cemetery is at 6501 State Road 7, Lake Worth. Call 561-649-6489 for more information.

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