MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. -- Nearly 50 war veterans whose remains went unclaimed for decades finally received a proper burial on Thursday. The ceremony was held at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake. It honored war heroes who were never identified or did not have family to claim their remains.
A total of 49 veterans were honored as part of the Missing in America Program. Their names were read aloud on Thursday and they were recognized for their services. Five American Flags were folded symbolizing the five branches of the United States Military.
"It's always incredible to be allowed to be part of it, and humbling," said Larry Griffith of the Washington Patriot Guard.
Their remains were buried in special urns made by a local craftsman Mike Ross, who said he selected wood with a natural purple tint to make each urn. Members of the military and the Patriot Guard lined up for each veteran. Each urn was carried one-by-one to its final resting place.
"It's a great honor to be a veteran and to see that we're actually fulfilling the commitment we've made to these veterans and being able to welcome home," said Gary Condra of the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs.
A small crowd watched the service in place of family or friends. Slowly, the veterans each took their place until only one was left.
"They fought for our country and they were promised they would be honored for fighting for their country," said Griffith.
The Missing In America Project launched six years ago and Thursday's ceremony was one of a handful of events organized by the project in September across the country.
Watch this story Thursday on KREM 2 News at 5:00.