ST. LOUIS - All over the country, the remains of cremated military veterans go unclaimed, sometimes sitting on a funeral home shelf for decades.
On Wednesday, 15 unclaimed Missouri veterans were laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Unclaimed, forgotten. Two adjectives that should not apply to Military veterans who served our country. Thanks to the Patriot Guard, The American Legion, and an organization called the Missing in America Project, 15 forgotten veterans now have a resting place, providing honor and respect.
"What we're doing today, we're taking them to their final resting place," said Robert Smith with the Patriot Guard Riders.
The Patriot Guard Riders did what they always do, stand in for those who stood for us.
Fifteen Missouri men served their country during war and in peacetime. For a variety of reasons their remains were never claimed by family or friends.
Some of these men were homeless, estranged from family, forgotten. Until Wednesday.
Like a detective, Paul Annable from the Missing in America Project investigates these forgotten soldiers.
"All of them were on funeral home shelves, in basements of crematoriums. Maybe even in storage areas," he said.
Annable and other volunteers look for clues about their lives in the military and their personal lives.
"In some cases you find nothing and in other cases you really get to build these people's life before your eyes," said Annable. "These were all people that were forgotten by their family and friends."
On Thursday, 17 more forgotten veterans will be buried at Jefferson Barracks, including the remains of a Civil War soldier.