No Veteran will be forgotten.
Unclaimed for years, the cremated remains of three soldiers and one sailor were finally laid to rest in a solemn military funeral ceremony at Connecticut’s State Veterans Cemetery in Middletown Thursday.
Four veterans, who fought in the Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, were carried to the cemetery, each in a separate hearse. Amidst a light rain, veterans of many conflicts and wars gathered under a tent to pay respects to men they never met.
“Leave no veteran behind and honor every one of them in action,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal during the ceremony, “Not just in memory.”
Melvin William Kaulfers, Bertram Aulton Lascelles, Edward Douglas Rudderow and Frederick William Walters. Their names were read, and medals presented, before receiving a gun salute and the playing of Taps.
“These four veterans from the Spanish American War, WWI and WW II are now not forgotten even though once they passed. They had once been forgotten,” said Thomas Saadi, the commissioner of the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Although no blood relatives were present, many veterans were.
“They had a family. You are their family,” Blumenthal said while addressing the current and former military personnel who attended.
The ceremony was put together by The Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs and Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. Together they worked for months to verify identities and military affiliations.
“It meant a lot to be able to have someone who served our country, to be able to give them a memorial and final resting place,” said Ed Sheehy, president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.
For those veterans present today, the ceremony provided a dignified conclusion to time well served.
“We put this uniform on with the hope that what we do matters,” said Captain Patrick Montes, US Army, Connecticut Casualty Assistance Operations Officer. “We hope that somebody will remember.”
In closing today DVA commissioner Saadi made a point to say the names of each veteran one last time, because, as he explained, “if we say their names and remember their names, they will never be forgotten.”