By Ariel Graham | DFW Newsflash | December 2019
Dallas — A memorial service and interment was held for three previously unclaimed veterans at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. Larry Williams, director of the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, said the remains were located thanks to the efforts of the Missing in America Project.
“These were veterans we didn’t think had families, but then we found out a couple of them did,” Williams said. “All veterans deserve an honorable burial. You’ve got so many veterans in funeral homes that nobody claims, and state law states they have to hold [the remains] for so many days. [Missing in America] let us know they had three of them, and we are obligated to honor these three.”
The Missing in America Project locates, identifies and inters unclaimed cremated remains of American Veterans. Through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations, Missing in America is able to provide respect to those who have served our country by securing a final resting place for these forgotten heroes.
“Our mission is to locate the cremains [of veterans] from wherever they’re stored,” Joyce Earnest, Texas state coordinator for Missing in America, said. “We’ve found them in abandoned cars, abandoned homes, abandoned storage lockers. We’ve found them in several places, and they’re just sitting there. Usually, it’s because the family has taken the urns home, and nobody knows what to do with them when it’s all over.”
The remains of these three veterans were donated to the A&M School of Dentistry. Missing in America contacted the school looking for veteran remains, and once identified as veterans, the organization claimed the remains.
“These veterans decided not to give their cremains back to their family, but [Texas A&M] wanted these veterans honored in some way,” Earnest said. “We have congressional approval to take ownership and get them buried, A&M does not, so we took care of it.”
Missing in America also attempted to contact the families of the veterans to let them know their veterans had been located and identified. Jim Rogers, son of one of the veterans, was glad his father was finally being laid to rest among all the other heroes in the National Cemetery.
“This is the final resting place for some of the greatest people in America,” Rogers said. “There are not really enough words to describe it. Some of these people gave their lives in times of war under some really bad circumstances, and some of them lived out their lives and raised families and did well. It’s a mix of all kinds of people, but all of them served. All of them gave. All of them had the same opportunities and the same risks.”