Friday, May 30, 2014

Lost, but never forgotten

It was a very warm Nebraska afternoon as people gathered at Fort McPherson National Cemetery south of Maxwell, Nebraska.  The cemetery is a short distance from the military post of the same name that was built to protect people on their way west along the trails, as well as make sure that freight got safely westward also.

The cemetery is full of knowns and unknowns, many of whom died in military skirmishes in western Nebraska.  As forts closed on the western frontier, the dead were brought to Fort McPherson National Cemetery for reburial.  Names of many were lost to time.   Many wars are represented on the tombstones.

Through the timeless efforts of the Missing in America Project, the remains of veterans are being identified, not only in Nebraska but in many other states.  The purpose of the MIA project is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American Veterans through the joint efforts of private, state and federal organizations.  They provide honor and respect to those who have served our country by securing a final resting place for those forgotten heroes.  The Nebraska Missing in America Project was responsible today (30 May 2014) for bringing five urns to the cemetery for burial in the columbarium.
Half-mast flag at Fort McPherson National Cemetery

As the flag flew at half mast, the gun salute echoed through the valley and taps sounded throughout the cemetery, there was a narrative about the five veterans  They were ...

Hazel Wood  1917-2013  US Army WAC, WWII
Floyd Emil Johnson  1931-2014  US Army, Korea
Gary L. Hirschman  1952-2011  USMC, Vietnam
Charles Warner  1946-2013  US Army, Vietnam
Reginal Thomas Prim  1950-2014  US Navy, Vietnam

All of the above named veterans were lacking relatives, but they were honored by a multitude of people who became self-proclaimed relatives, even for a small period of time.   They gave their lives that all of us could be present to pay respect to them, but also to all of those buried in the cemetery ... the known and the unknown.  May they all rest in peace.

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