TribLIVE

| State


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Remains of 26 unclaimed vets receive proper burial in Cecil cemetary

Go online To view a video of the burial in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, visit TribLive.com

Daily Photo Galleries

Thursday, May 15, 2014, 10:30 p.m.
 

For four years, their remains sat unclaimed, awaiting mass burial.

On Thursday, a team of volunteers buried 26 veterans with military honors in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Cecil.

“We have some veterans that have passed that are finally getting the proper send-off that they should have gotten a long time ago. To stand there looking at those urns just brings tears to my eyes,” said Carl Mochak, 67, a Vietnam veteran and chaplain for VFW Post 5758 in Tarentum.

About 250 unclaimed bodies had been under the care of the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, but John Fabry, Pennsylvania coordinator of the Missing in America Project, suspected that some were veterans entitled to military funerals.

“Once you find an individual is a veteran, you feel bad,” Fabry told the Trib last week. “Here's a person who served his country, and now nobody wants to give him a proper burial.”

The Missing in America Project says on its website that it has visited 1,560 funeral homes, identified the cremated remains of 2,144 people as those of veterans and buried 1,882 of them.

The ceremony on Thursday started with a procession leaving the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science on Baum Boulevard in East Liberty. It reached the national military cemetery about an hour later.

The veterans represented all branches of the military except the Coast Guard. Most died after 2010.

“In retrospect, it's a sad day, of course, for many of the family members, but it's also the job that we do,” said Bill McClements, 68, of Murrysville, a member of the funeral detail representing the Three Rivers Leatherneck Detachment of the Marine Corps League.

“Leave no man behind, or woman,” said Steve Hloznik, 68, of Tarentum, memorial unit chairman for the Tarentum VFW post.

Trib Total Media staff photographer Stephanie Strasburg contributed to this report.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pennsylvania

  1. Conneaut Lake Park to take case to court for tax-exempt status
  2. Ohio woman shot to death nearly 3 days before police find body in Neshannock home
  3. Geologist: Site of idyllic 1833 painting of Lancaster found
  4. Pennsylvania legislative leader Costa blasts suggestion of session before Wolf sworn in as governor
  5. Kane’s office backtracks on prosecution in email scandal
  6. ‘Consolidation’ might be the word for some shale companies
  7. Philly stadium-district casino wins new license
  8. Cold sets record high of 21 for Nov. 18
  9. Attorney general Kane reverses claim about child porn in emails
  10. Stadium district casino wins Philly license
  11. Erie ties record low but avoids heavy snowfall
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.