DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– A journey that’s more than just another mission came to and end Tuesday for 15 veterans.
The road they’ve traveled has been a long one filled with many steps and the different paths life offers.
“They’re forgotten for a lot of reasons,” says Steve Ebersole with the Ohio Missing in America Project.
But now those 15 veterans will get in death, the honors that they didn’t always find in life.
“It’s important for all our veterans that we appreciate the sacrifices they make,” says Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
The effort started when Ebersole saw a picture on the Internet of veterans remains sitting unclaimed in another state.
“That just stirred my blood thoroughly,” Ebersole says.
Eventually the efforts of Ebersole, Portman and Representatives Pat Tiberi and Steve Stivers led to a federal law, The Missing in America Act.
It allowed the VA to find the unclaimed remains of veterans and give them a proper burial.
“These folks have earned the right to be buried with full honors,” Ebersole says. “They served the nation honorably.”
The 15 veterans being honored served in everything from World War I to Vietnam.
Their remains were with other unclaimed ones at Woodland Cemetery.
“These were stored nicely in a cemetery but in some cases they were just stored in the basements of funeral homes,” Ebersole says.
Now the 15 will get a headstone like the others there and a place among their brothers and sisters in arms.
“They’ve never had a flag flown over their grave site on Memorial Day,” Ebersole says. “When we get done that will never happen again.”
Officials say another ceremony will be held next month to transfer more unclaimed veterans remains to the Dayton National Cemetery.