Saturday ceremony at cemetery will honor 35 vets
SIERRA VISTA — The drive to find military veterans who have died and fell through society’s cracks, leaving them without final military honors, continues.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday the cremated remains of 35 veterans, and the wife of one of them, will be placed in columbaria niches at the Southern Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery off of Buffalo Soldier Trail in Serra Vista.
Cemetery Administrator Joe Larson said honoring the 35, who served in War World II, the Korean War and Vietnam War, as well as during the Vietnam era and peacetime, will mean they bring the total of Missing in America Project remains at the cemetery to nearly 200.
And, for the first time the event will be held on a Saturday instead of a weekday, he said.
“This is the largest one we have done, and for logistical reasons and the desire of organizers to have more people attend the ceremony, we changed it to a weekend day,” Larson said.
It means juggling some of the workers’ hours to ensure enough support is available but he said it is worthwhile because it honors veterans, who for many unknown reasons to include they were indigent or had no family members, he said.
Those being honored served in the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force and they range in age from 50 to 89 at the time of their deaths, said Larson, who is an Army veteran.
A bugler from the Fort Huachuca 62nd Army Band and a firing party from VFW Post 9972 will provide honors and soldiers, Marines sailors and airmen will take part in the ceremony carrying the urns to the cemetery amphitheater and then to the columbaria niches, he said.
The cortege, to include motorcyclists will leave the Adair Funeral Home in Tucson at 10:15 a.m., according to a program for the day’s event.
Local motorcyclists who want to participate can muster at RV City on Highway 90 in Huachuca City at 11 a.m., with a departure to the cemetery scheduled for noon.
Larson said the ceremony is expected to last 90 minutes.
“I hope veterans and their families, as well as non-veterans, will attend the event to honor the 35,” he said.
CHILI BENEFIT AIDS FALLEN WARRIORS
A chili benefit to help raise funds for a chapel at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery will be held beginning at noon on Oct. 12 at Bonnie’s Lounge.
The proceeds will go the cemetery’s foundation to build the chapel, as government funds cannot be used.
A raffle of handmade wooden toys will be part of the event.
Chili entries can be made at home but participants must provide their own heat source at the event.
There will be a $10 entrance fee for each entry and cash prizes for first, second and third places will be awarded.
Cooks are asked to be at the event by 11 a.m. and others beginning at noon.
Cooks may sign up and pick up information at Bonnie’s Lounge at 6310 S. Highway 92.
Additional queries can be made by calling 378-0818.
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