Veterans not forgotten: Remains of unclaimed war vets buried in Connecticut state cemetery
(Tribune News Service) — Connecticut Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi read the names Friday of eight men who served in World War I through Vietnam and were either forgotten by their families or died alone with no loved ones around.
As each name and the veteran’s service record was announced during the ceremony at the State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown, uniformed service members and veterans brought forth folded American flags and blue marble boxes containing each man’s cremains.
The ashes had been left on funeral home shelves, some for decades. Under a bright blue sky, Saadi proclaimed to an audience packed with veterans and active service members that the wartime vets were “forgotten no longer, because you are here and we say their names.”
In 2008, then-veterans Commissioner Linda Schwartz joined the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association and the state chapter of the Missing in America Project to identify veterans’ remains. At the time, the Missing in America Project had helped locate, identify and inter the ashes of more than 100 veterans nationwide.
Ceremonial burials for the remains of such honorably discharged veterans started in Connecticut in 2009. The ceremony was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, the remains of four veterans — one from the Spanish American War, one from World War I and two from World War II — were buried.
The veterans interred Friday were:
Victor Herbert Anderson, U.S. Marines/Korean War, Aug. 4, 1933-Nov. 1, 2018, died in Seymour.
Orville K. Davis, U.S. Army/World War II, May 10, 1923-Nov. 5, 1993, died in Southington.
Stephen Yoder Forrester, U.S. Army/Vietnam War, Feb. 7, 1946-Nov. 29, 1972, died in Branford.
Joseph P. Galipeau, U.S. Army/World War II, March 23, 1929-Oct. 29, 2001, died in Southington.
Lawrence W. Jordan, U.S. Army/World War I, Oct. 10, 1898-Aug. 5, 1976, died in Branford.
Bernard Joseph Lafleur, U.S. Navy/World War II, Nov. 30, 1925-March 17, 2007, died in Southington.
George Dalton Parker, U.S. Navy/World War II, Oct. 30, 1916-Sept. 10, 1984, died in Hartford.
Lawrence Earl Tefft, U.S. Navy/World War II, July 14, 1927-Feb. 9, 1998, died in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Tefft’s home at the time was in Connecticut).
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy remarked on veterans’ loyalty to the U.S. and to each other and said it made him proud to serve such a nation. U.S. Air Force veteran Alfred A. Montoya Jr., director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, said veterans do not forget.
The burial ceremony, Montoya said, is testament that “looking out for your battle buddy stands the test of time.”
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