National Cemetery ceremony for 15 veterans Saturday
SALISBURY — A motorcycle escort is expected Saturday as the unclaimed, cremated remains of 15 veterans are carried from Greenville to the Salisbury National Cemetery to be laid to rest.
The 11 a.m. ceremony will be the first in North Carolina for the Missing in America Project, a nonprofit dedicated to identifying deceased veterans and ensuring they get proper military burials.
Steve Muro, the VA National Cemetery Administration’s undersecretary for memorial affairs, will speak at the event.
The ceremony culminates a process that started in February, according to volunteer John McColley. That’s when he and other Missing in America volunteers began researching veterans whose remains were being held at a Greenville funeral home. The veterans’ families either could not be found, did not exist or did not claim them at the time of death. All had died since 2010.
McColley, who lives near the Outer Banks, said volunteers first verified the veterans’ status and good standing with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Then they investigated the individuals, sometimes starting with only a name, sometimes with last known address and other information.
Missing in America found relatives to claim the remains of seven of the veterans. The 15 that remain — all North Carolinians by birth or transplant — will be buried here Saturday, McColley said. They include veterans of both World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Their names will be read out during the ceremony and engraved on their headstones, he said.
The journey to Salisbury will start at 6:30 a.m. as members of the Missing in America Project gather at Walmart Shopping Center, 4600 East 10th St., Greenville. With American flags flying on motorcycles and vehicles, the entourage will stop in Graham at 8:30 a.m., at the Pilot Flying J, 1043 Jimmie Kerr Road, to pick up more riders and vehicles and proceed to Salisbury National Cemetery. The Patriot Guard is expected to participate.
Interment will be held at Salisbury National Cemetery, 501 Statesville Blvd., at 11 a.m. Government officials, the public and media are invited to attend.
For more information, visit www.miap.us.
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