A final resting place: Remains of 16 US veterans, 2 spouses laid to rest in ceremony

The remains of 16 American veterans and two of their spouses were laid to rest in a ceremony Thursday that began in Freehold and ended in Wrightstown.

News 12 Staff

Sep 8, 2022, 11:58 AM

Updated 644 days ago

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The remains of 16 American veterans and two of their spouses were laid to rest in a ceremony Thursday that began in Freehold and ended in Wrightstown. 
Some of the remains have been sitting on shelves for decades. Thursday's event was all because of the efforts of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
The ceremony began at the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, as each of the 18 remains was recognized and honored with a full military salute. The cremated remains were forgotten for a number of reasons -- in some cases, the last surviving family members died and urns ended up at the funeral homes.
"These veterans are left all by themselves,” says Ernie Diorio, of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 12. “Nobody's picked them up. We decided to pick them up and do the right thing with them, because let's face it these guys fought for our country. Why should they be left by themselves sitting on a shelf for all these years? It's not fair, so we bring them back to General Doyle and they're with their comrades.”
The Vietnam Veterans of America takes possession of the urns, verifies the remains are of a veteran, tries to contact any surviving family members and then presents a full military burial.
“They essentially have become missing in action,” says David Drummond, former Vietnam POW, VVA 233. “We are trying to make sure that all of our comrades are accounted for and given a proper burial and they fall under the missing in action category as far as I'm concerned.”
In one instance, the remains sat on a shelf for 50 years before the organization gave them a proper burial. 
The procession will make several stops along the way through Freehold, before ending at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown later this afternoon.
The Jersey Shore chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America have laid to rest more than 100 cremated remains in the years since these efforts began. 


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