18 unclaimed veterans to receive military funeral Wednesday

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — It's probably not the way they thought it end. Everyone envisions family standing around holding one another and sharing memories of a life well lived.

"I don't think we thought there would be this many when we started," Melissa Dawson the funeral director at Indiana Funeral Care shared.

18 veterans will receive a military laid to rest at Marion National Cemetery on Wednesday, none of which have been claimed.

The oldest urn here is from 2008. The latest from 2018.

"They are from several different wars," General Manager Sara Thompson added.

18 veterans and one spouse, a total of 19 unclaimed urns.

"They are unclaimed remains so families never came back to pick them up or just were not ready to have loved ones home with them, so we did all the paperwork and will lay them to rest at Marion National," Dawson continued.

The urns will be placed here when the motorcade arrives Wednesday for the 11 a.m. ceremony. The Patriot Guard will accompany the motorcade.

"They will be here to escort us to Marion, Dawson said. "They were nice enough to reach out to the Marion County Sheriff Department, Madison County Sheriff Department and Grant County Sheriff Department to escort us through their individual counties to get us there."

The urns and the nameplates are all donated. Burial at Marion National Cemetery is also free to veterans.

"They maybe thought this is the end. Cremation is burial. We signed up for that. Now we are finished. They didn't realize the need to come back and finalize everything so this is about educating more," Thompson said.

"They just weren't ready for their loved ones to come home," Dawson said. "If the death is sudden or maybe it wasn't sudden but just hard to deal with so they were not ready to deal with this so they weren't ready to bring them home. So you lose track over time. Every family situation is different."

On Wednesday these benches at the Marion National Cemetery will be filled with people who most likely did not know any of the veterans laid to rest.

That motorcade is scheduled to leave from Indiana Funeral Care at 8151 Allisonville Road at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.