PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Honoring those who gave everything for our country, a New Jersey group is remembering service members whom everyone else seemed to forget.READ MORE: Cherry Hill School District Psychologist Francesca Aldrich Helping Inspire, Connect Students Through Virtual Black History Month Book Club
Inside mahogany boxes are the cremated remains of servicemen who fought for our country.
“We have the privilege and the duty to see to it that twelve of these United States military heroes are given their recognition and final resting place here among other heroes,” said Chaplain Jerry Skorch.
After these servicemen died, no one claimed their ashes. In many cases, they sat in a closet inside a funeral home for decades.
“The ashes of this gentleman have been awaiting final resting services for 34 years and 4 months, unclaimed by any family member,” said Skorch.
“No veteran should be left on the shelf,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn Rieth, the Adjunct General of New Jersey.
After working with lawmakers and passing legislation, New Jersey’s volunteer group Mission of Honor has been allowed to bury these veterans, giving them a proper burial when there is no next of kin.READ MORE: Mr. Potato Head Drops 'Mister' From Brand Name To Be More Gender Neutral
“It means closure,” said Skorch. “It means that my brothers who have fought to keep me free are getting their final resting place. This is our passion, this is our mission.”
“To finally give them the honor and respect that they’ve earned by wearing our nation’s uniform is the right thing to do,” said Maj. Gen. Rieth.
New Jersey’s Mission of Honor has honored 46 servicemen, but they says there could be thousands of remains across the state of New Jersey. The group runs strictly on a volunteer basis.
Reported By Dave Huddleston, CBS 3
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