The cremains of a veteran are often initially set in a place of honor within a home, but sadly, they may not always be respected in the same way as time passes.
“Eventually, those ashes that were above the fireplace get moved to the closet and then to the basement,’’ said retired Lt. Col. Larry Scheetz, director of Veterans Affairs for Mercer County.
In an effort to give veterans the last military honor that they deserve, the Avenue of 444 Flags Foundation offered free interment in America’s Cemetery in Hermitage, Pa. The interment service took place on Veterans Day with an honor guard from the Farrell and West Middlesex Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Wheatland American Legion. The remains of 10 veterans were placed in an ossuary, a long cylinder inserted into the ground.
“The veteran did not have to be in combat or be highly decorated to receive this honor,’’ Scheetz said. The Foundation does require that the individual be an honorably discharged veteran with appropriate documents. Immediate family members are also eligible.
Discharge papers of a loved one can be difficult to find. Scheetz recommends contacting the Veterans Affairs office and advises vets to talk to their families about their burial desires.
This is the third consecutive year that the Avenue of 444 Flags Foundation offered free interment. Upcoming plans include creating 5 new ossuaries, one for each branch of service. Eventually, more ossuaries will be created based on specific wars and divisions within military branches.
The original article was written by Michael Roknick for The Herald. For more information, click here.
Photo by The Herald