Ft. Bliss National Cemetery | Photo courtesy Photo by Abigail Waldrop/Fort Bliss Public Affairs
Fort Bliss National Cemetery will hold a memorial service for Veterans who were previously laid to rest January through March 2019 without honors or with no family in attendance.
“Every Veteran with honorable service has earned the right to be interred in a national cemetery and has paid the price by their service to this great nation,” said James Porter, Fort Bliss National Cemetery director. “We encourage the community to join us as we pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed for our nation. It simply is the right thing for us to do.”
These Veterans, referred to as Unaccompanied Veterans, are former service members whose next of kin is unknown or loved ones cannot attend their service. Many times, burial arrangements have been made by a public administrator, a VA medical center, or some other authorized entity.
Open to the public, the memorial service includes military funeral honors and a roll call, where the names of each Veteran, his or her rank, and the branch of service are solemnly read. This is followed by the playing of “Taps” and the presentation of a folded American flag.
“No Veteran is buried alone,” said Porter. “Fort Bliss National Cemetery staff is present at every single burial and committal service. We become their family in that moment and ensure each service member who passes through our gates receives the proper tribute.”
On July 18, the community is invited to pay respects to over 19 Veterans. These veterans have served their country spanning from World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War on through serving through peacetime. Many of these warriors have distinguished careers and medals to include one of them received the Purple heart for their service to our country.
Following the unaccompanied burial service, El Paso VA Health Care System Director Michael Amaral will honor recently passed Veterans with a Last Roll Call and Remembrance Ceremony.
These ceremonies would not be possible without the help of The El Paso Marine Honors Unit, The El Paso Patriot Guard, Veteran Service Organizations, and local government partners.
“Sometimes we’re closer to other Veterans than we are with our own family,” said retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Bob Way, who is also the Cemetery Support Committee Chairman. “Sometimes, our families aren’t there to enjoy those memories and blessings with us, so we rely on our brothers and sisters in arms.”
The service is set for Thursday, July 18 at 2:30 p.m. at the West Shelter, 5200 Fred Wilson Avenue.