Touching tribute honors remains of unclaimed military veterans

Special military funeral held in Middletown
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:46 PM EDT
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MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) - A touching tribute Friday night.

The U.S. Navy carried the cremated remains of a World War II veteran.

His family never claimed those remains.

That’s also the case for three other Connecticut veterans.

They all received military funeral honors Friday.

Cremated remains going unclaimed for years is uncommon, but it does happen to our veterans.

Some outlive their spouse, their family. Maybe they didn’t have any children.

Friday’s ceremony makes sure the four veterans get a proper funeral and aren’t forgotten.

Hearses carried the cremated remains of four heroes.

They entered hallowed ground at the State Veterans Cemetery.

“We are remembering. We are refusing to forget,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

These four veterans were forgotten for years.

Their cremated remains, unclaimed. Sitting in a funeral home.

Friday, the State Department of Veterans Affairs officially changed that in Middletown.

The four former servicemen and one veteran’s wife were honored.

I think about their service, love for their country and each other,” said Peter Galgano of East Berlin.

The four veterans are Robert Benson, Loren Cubbison, Jr, David Groher and Morris Meyer.

Meyer’s wife, Cornelia, was honored too.

Their cremated remains may have gone unclaimed for years because they outlived their family or their loved ones moved far away.

Now they are getting the proper funeral and ceremony they deserved, along with Connecticut Wartime Service Medals.

Here’s veterans affairs commissioner Thomas Saadi.

People die two deaths, once when their last breath leaves their lungs and their heart ceases to beat, and the second when they’re forgotten. We’re ensuring that these veterans don’t die that second death. That they are not forgotten,” said Thomas Saadi, Commissioner of the CT Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

At the end of the ceremony, the urns were placed in a columbarium.

“It’s a brotherhood and we’ll always love and embrace each other. That’s why this is so important,” said Galgano.

This is the eighth ceremony hosted by the state, and the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association since 2009.

35 veterans whose cremated remains were unclaimed have received those military honors.