Missing In America Project
The purpose of the Missing in America Project is to locate, identify and provide a final resting place for the unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans. This nation-wide effort is accomplished by working with the American Legion, volunteers, veteran’s organizations, funeral homes, and state, local and federal agencies. All local, state and national laws are followed in the identification, acquisition, and interment of each veteran’s remains. The Missing in America Project does not want veterans forgotten and believes all of them should have a beautiful place for their final rest with their brothers and sisters of the armed forces.
The process begins when volunteers personally visit funeral homes and coroners offices to present the Missing in America Project documentation. Volunteers inquire if they possess any unclaimed cremains and work with the funeral home and coroners to enter the list names of unclaimed veteran remains into a national database, and notify any next of kin.
Once the identity and military status is verified by the National Cemetery, Scheduling and Eligibility Office, the Missing in America Project works with the VA and the funeral home to either arrange for burial of the cremated remains locally or escort them to another state for burial. To date the Missing in America Project has visited almost 1,700 funeral homes, found 9,916 cremated remains and from those nearly 10,000 remains, 2,439 veterans have been identified and 2,211 have been interred.
Missing in America Project has started a volunteer corps in Colorado and are looking for additional people to help with their cause. Recently, a letter was posted on their website asking for those volunteers here are some highlights:
“We need your help in getting the word out to funeral homes, State Facilities. Assistance in visiting and inventorying unclaimed persons to enter into databases and let other volunteers work to identify those that are veterans and their dependents.
After verification we need to ensure that the veteran has a proper Memorial Service with full Military Honors.
The Missing in America Project always inters our veterans or dependents at the nearest VA National or State Cemetery. We utilize these facilities as there is a procedure to reunite them with their family if found at a later date. The Missing in America Project steps forward to accept responsibility for those veterans that have no “Next of Kin” that can be located. We accept that responsibility in order to let our veterans rest with their peers in a beautiful cemetery in the open and not in backrooms and storage units.
The Missing in America Project welcomes all other veterans and public organizations to join with us to complete this enormous task. We need your help and welcome you.“