Unclaimed veterans' remains laid to rest in Portland

Unclaimed veterans' remains await to be interred at Willamette National Cemetery on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. (KATU Photo)

Dozens of unclaimed veterans’ remains found their final resting place Wednesday.

A graveside service with full military honors for 28 unclaimed veterans’ remains and nine spousal remains was held at Willamette National Cemetery.

The effort was spearheaded by the Missing in America Project, an organization that helps to locate, identify and inter unclaimed veterans’ remains.

It’s a process that can take years.

There was a moment of silence as doves were released. They were symbols of service and sacrifice.

Some of the veterans died nearly 80 years ago. Some in Vietnam. Some in World War I.

All of them were unclaimed until now.

"They shouldn't have to spend eternity on a shelf somewhere at a funeral home or a hospital," said Chris Hawes, with Missing in America Project. "They served this country, and they earned a space here with their fellow service members. And it just takes a little effort from us to kinda complete that circle. They didn't get that journey completed. We take that last step for them."

Many people at the ceremony Wednesday never knew the service members, but felt it was their duty to welcome them home.

Since 2007, the project has recovered more than 17,000 remains and identified nearly 4,000 of them.

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