Unclaimed Connecticut Veterans Receive Proper Burials

Four veterans whose remains have sat unclaimed since their deaths years ago received a proper burial Wednesday in the State Veterans' Cemetery.

Howard Daniels died in Old Saybrook in 2011, Joseph Trantino in New Haven in 2004, David Kendle in Clinton in 2002 and William Buell died in 2003.

The Missing in America Project found their remains at Swan Funeral Home in Clinton. The funeral home's director organized a procession and ceremony to present the veterans with the final honor they deserved.

Patriot Guard Riders carried cherry-wood urns containing the veterans' ashes out of the funeral home to waiting hearses prior to a funeral service in Old Saybrook.

"We make them our family. We become their family to take them to their final rest," said the Mac McArthur, state captain of the Patriot Guard Riders.

Four hearses carried each of the veterans to Middletown, where Patriot Guard Riders led the procession into the State Veterans' Cemetery.

An honor guard from the Army retrieved the urns for Daniels and Trantino, who saw combat in World War II, while a guard from the Navy did the same for for Kendle and Buell.

The Missing in America Project has found in funeral homes across the country the unclaimed remains of more than 2,600 veterans.

"The absolute least we can do, when they have no family left when they pass away is to ensure they are laid to rest in the proper manner and given the proper honors," said said Tim Tapply, of the Missing in America Project.

After a rifle salute and Taps from a bugler, the honor guards folded American flags. The flags would ordinarily go to the veterans' loved ones, but on Wednesday, they were presented to a larger family: the family of veterans.

"You look around this cemetery here today – the number of veterans who really came out to support fellow veterans was amazing, inspiring, and really shows again that we're not going to forget our veterans here in Connecticut," said Sean Connolly, the commissioner of Veterans' Affairs in Connecticut.

The Missing in America Project has found 20 more unclaimed remains of veterans in Connecticut and will hold similar ceremonies at the State Veterans' Cemetery later this summer.

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