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Unclaimed veteran's remains laid to restTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Darla Golden
Placing the cremains in the columbarium
Photo by Darla Golden
The flag at half-staff
Photo by Darla Golden
Carrying the cremains to the columbarium
Photo by Darla Golden
Holding with reverance
Photo by Darla Golden
Paying respect

Five veterans who went missing in America were laid to rest Friday afternoon with full honors at Fort McPherson National Shrine near Maxwell.

Their remains were placed in a columbarium after tributes were paid and songs and prayers were issued.

The ceremony was the culmination of efforts by private, state and federal organizations to secure a final resting place for those whose cremains were never claimed by families or friends.

The Missing in America project locates, identifies and inters the unclaimed cremains.

“These forgotten veterans served our country and, as such, deserve to be buried with honor and respect,” organizers said.

Five veterans who were laid to rest served in three branches of the service – Navy, Marines and Army.

They are:

• Hazel Wood, 1917-2003, who served in the Women’s Army Corps in World War II.

• Floyd Emil Johnson, 1931-2014, who served in the Army in Korea.

• Gary L. Hirshman, 1952-2011, who served in the Marines in Vietnam.

• Charles Warner, 1946-2013, who served in the Army in Vietnam.

• Reginal Thomas Prim, 1950-2014, a Navy veteran of Vietnam.

There was a simultaneous unfurling of the flags of each of those three branches of the military. 

The cremains were solemnly carried to the colombarium, and interred with full military honors, including taps and a 21-gun salute.

The Nebraska coordinator of the Missing in American effort, Bill Henry, said in addition to five cremains interred Friday, three others were interred in September and one more last week at Ft. Leavenworth.  He said they should never be forgotten.

Nationwide, 19,000 cremains have been interred, including 6,000 who were reunited with families, since the Missing In America Project began in November 2006, when the Idaho State Veterans cemetery interred 21 cremains of forgotten veterans.

Henry has never served in the military, but he currently has four sons in the service.

Bill Williams, the Nebraska coordinator of the “Remembering the Fallen” project, spoke.

Williams said a display wall of photos of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan has been created as part of a national effort. The display was in North Platte at the Platte River Mall throughout the week.

Williams said the hope is to have a traveling display to remember the fallen in every U.S. state by 2016.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/30/2014
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