RITTMAN, Ohio -- They were American Veterans who served our country--but never received a proper burial, until this weekend. A special memorial service was held for 13 area veterans at the Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery in Rittman on Saturday. It was a burial with full military honors that, for some, should have happened decades ago.
The Missing in American Project discovered the unclaimed cremated remains of these American servicemen in a funeral home in Akron. Ohio MIAP state coordinator Chastity Booth worked to have them properly honored.
"They signed up to serve our country, and this is the least that we can do to make sure that they do get a proper burial. They have all earned it, and they all deserve it," Booth said.
The veterans represent the Army, Air Force and Marines, and had served in World War II, The Korean War and Vietnam. They had received military medals, but until now, no proper burial.
Among those honored was PFC Marshall Packer, who was a Vietnam Vet. Antone Hatcher, of Mayfield Heights, was moved by the fitting tribute to his father.
"It really makes me feel that he is truly honored for his sacrifice," Hatcher said.
This was the first Missing in America Project memorial service to be held at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. MIAP Coordinator Booth said it was bittersweet.
"Bitter, because they have been lost, forgotten for so long. Sweet, because they are finally home," she added, with a tear in her eye.
The Missing In America Project intends to hold more memorial services. The Group is in the process of checking hundreds of funeral homes in Ohio, looking for unclaimed cremated remains of veterans to see that they all get a proper burial.
The organization runs on volunteers and donations. For more information on the Missing In America Project, click HERE. Or, contact Ohio MIAP State Coordinator Booth at firstname.lastname@example.org.