Cape Canaveral National Cemetery Holds ‘You are Not Forgotten’ Ceremony for Unclaimed Veterans
By Space Coast Daily // February 4, 2019
ceremony drew hundreds of servicemen and women who wanted to pay tribute
BREVARD COUNTY • MIMS, FLORIDA – The Cape Canaveral National Cemetery held a burial Saturday, Feb. 2 for veterans who went unclaimed in a “You are Not Forgotten” ceremony that drew hundreds of servicemen and women who wanted to pay tribute.
Since 2007, the nonprofit organization Missing in America Project has set out to find unclaimed veterans and give them a final resting place.
Thanks to the nonprofit, Cape Canaveral National Cemetery is now the resting spot for 18 veterans and six spouses.
According to the organization, one veteran went unclaimed at a local funeral home since 1973.
Missing in America Project Florida coordinator Kathy Church said many veterans’ ashes have sat on funeral home shelves, in attics and in storage.
The Medical Examiner’s Office has some dating back to the Civil War.
“The first time I located and follow through the process, it’s so emotional,” Church said.
“This is done by volunteers, no one in the organizations gets paid. It takes teamwork. We have four teams in Florida and our goal is to work with every funeral home, every hospital and the Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Church said since the project, the nonprofit has visited more than 2,000 funeral homes and more than 4,000 veterans have been identified. Cape Canaveral Lady Volunteer Shirley Jaffe said attending funerals for veterans who don’t have any family members is her way of thanking them for their service.
“It breaks my heart to know a veteran who served for me that gave us the freedom never got their final rest that has to hurt anybody’s heart,” Jaffe said.
Twenty-four veterans and spouses will be part of the Columbarium at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery forever.
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