Did you know that the remains of thousands of people who are cremated go unclaimed? That creamatoria, funeral homes, and cemeteries often have shelves full of boxes awaiting family members to pick them up, and that these boxes may have been there for years, or decades?
I had no idea until I read an essay by Thomas Lynch in his book The Undertaking. Lynch, a funeral director, realized his funeral home was storing a closet full of boxes of cremains. Fortunately for him, he worked in a small town, and so locating a family member and encouraging him or her to come pick up Aunt Thelma wasn’t that difficult.
Most places have a much more difficult time connecting the dead with the living, once the dead have been forgotten.
One organization that wants to make a difference to many of the people who remain in their boxed earthly limbo is the Missing in America Project. This organization, which went nationwide in 2007, is endeavoring to find the remains of forgotten veterans, and to provide them with the burial with full military honors they deserve.
To date, the organization has found and buried over 1900 veterans.
Check out their website to see how you can help make sure all of America’s veterans are located and properly honored.