WRIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (WPVI) --Veterans came together Thursday at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery to honor nine veterans from World War II and Korea on their final tour.
The cremains of servicemen from the Army, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard were orphaned or abandoned, sitting forgotten on the shelf of a funeral home somewhere in New Jersey. Now, each of them is being laid to rest with full military honors.
"You can't leave veterans on shelves that received Purple Hearts, fought in World War I, fought in the Spanish-American War," said Frank Carrasco, New Jersey Mission of Honor. "That's unacceptable."
"It's a shame that they are left unattended, unclaimed, and this is just our part to say, 'Thank you for your service,' " said Anthony Gladden, Ocean Co. American Legion.
Thursday's committal ceremony was the 23rd since 2009 for New Jersey Mission of Honor, a nonprofit organization that works with funeral directors to identify, retrieve and bury forgotten vets.
"A lot of funeral homes, they have them on the shelf, and we go in and find out where they're at, get the proper paperwork and give them a proper burial," said Donald Mohr, Bordentown, New Jersey.
Mission of Honor has buried 197 veterans, some of the remains abandoned for 70 years. Because of the work of this group, the servicemen are no longer forgotten.
"You know your family members die off and there's nobody there," said Suzanne Malecki, N.J. AMVETS. "They think there's nobody there for them, but there is."
"It's just the proper thing to do to me," said John Mason, Southampton, New Jersey. "They all deserve it."
273 of the cremains the group has found have been returned to their families.
But for those who have no one, Mission of Honor, and the veterans, are there to honor their service.