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It was hot, it was muggy, it was worth it.

Yesterday, I took two hours off from work and went to an interment ceremony at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.

I'm glad I did.

Yesterday, a bunch of people took time out from their day to honor the service of 14 soldiers and three of their wives, whose cremains had sat unclaimed, and therefore unburied, for decades. Sitting in storage in funeral parlors across Missouri, in the case of these cremains. The Missing In America Project seeks to find these veterans and any associated spouses, and get them the burial their service entitles them to.  Yesterday, we honored and laid to rest one veteran of the Civil War, who'd sat unclaimed since he died in 1946, and thirteen other veterans, one a two-war veteran of the Spanish-American War and WWI, the remainder World War I.  There were three wives, as well.   

Linda Smith, head of operations for MIAP, and William Owensby Jr, Director of the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery organized the event which included the VA Cemetery Service, Kansas Army National Guard, Fort Leavenworth Garrison Command,Command and General Staff College students, American Legion, D.W. Newcomer & Sons Funeral Homes, Sons of Union Veterans and other Civil War re-enactors, and the Patriot Guard Riders were all involved in making the event happen.  Medal of Honor recipient Colonel (R) Roger Donlon and LTG (R) Robert Arter, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, were the speakers at the ceremony.

Colonel Donlon's remarks were brief and got at the heart of the matter - and why what we were doing there yesterday mattered.

Honored for their service were:

Civil War veteran Pvt. George McCarthy. He was born in 1844 in Canada. On Sept. 5, 1864, he joined the 2nd Regiment, Missouri Artillery volunteers (Union) as a substitute for another soldier. McCarthy was a clerk for the regiment, and was discharged Aug. 25, 1865. He died in 1946 at the age of 102 and was cremated.  He had his own ceremony, with Civil War re-enactors providing his Honor Detail.

 Lt. Col. Ernest Mark and his wife, Frances. He served the U.S. Army from May 28, 1918, to June 11, 1919, and then joined the Reserves. He was an Army doctor and noted urology specialist in the Kansas City area. Mark and his wife were found dead of poisoning by their 16-year-old daughter on June 1, 1937. A police officer told The Kansas City Star in 1937 that his investigation “gave no indication Dr. and Mrs. Mark had been slain.” Although a funeral was held, their ashes were never claimed and the Marks had no near relatives except for their daughter.

Maj. Albert Payne Duval, who served the Army from April 18, 1917 to 1919. He was a combat veteran in World War I and died in 1959.

1st Lt. Charles Henry Shumaker and wife Alvira. Shumaker served the Army from Dec. 17, 1917, to 1919. He was a World War I combat veteran and received the Victory Button and Bronze Star Medal. He died in 1943.

Sgt. 1st Class James W. McDonald, who served the Army from April 20, 1917, to March 28, 1919. He died in 1951.

Sgt. Roy S. Robbins, who served the Army during World War I from June 19, 1916, to May 24, 1919. He died in 1952.

Sgt. William E. Kinney, who served the Army during World War I from April 9, 1917, to Feb. 26, 1919. He died in 1932.

Pvt. John W. Carpenter and his wife Marnodie. Carpenter served in the U.S. Army with the Army of Occupation in France from May 28, 1918, to June 11, 1919, and was a World War I combat veteran. He died in 1967.

 Pvt. Cyrus T. Dorr, who served the Army July 2, 1918, until his death Dec. 2, 1918. He was 25.

Pvt. John C. McFadyean, who served the Army twice, from April 20, 1899, to May 1, 1902 during the Spanish-American War and again during World War I from Aug. 30, 1918, to Dec. 10, 1918. He died in 1941.

Pvt. Ralph A. Lowe, who served the Army from May 15, 1918, to April 11, 1919. He died in 1960
Pvt. Ralph R. Wilson, who served the Army as a medic from Jan. 5, 1918, to Dec. 16, 1918. He died in 1952.

Pvt. John L. Lawing, who served the Army from Sept. 13, 1918, to Dec. 4, 1918. He died in 1957.

Pvt. Jerome M. Joffee, who served the Army from Aug. 20, 1918, to Oct. 18, 1918. He died in 1953.

The Kansas Army National Guard provided the Color Guard and Honors Team, who, along with soldiers from the Command and General Staff College provided the Honors for the WWI veterans.  I've attended a lot of military funerals, and I have to say that - bar none - the Kansas Guardsmen who served yesterday were the sharpest I've seen, and can stand proud as equals next to the Old Guard at Arlington.  Those soldiers are:

The Color Guard: 1st Sgt. Randy Rice, Madison; Master Sgt. Steven Haag, Topeka; Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Meyer, Osage City; and Sgt. 1st Class Mike Wilson, Topeka.

The Adjutant General’s Military Funeral Honors Team: Master Sgt. Rod Moyer, Topeka; Staff Sgt. Maxie Joye, Topeka; Sgt. Stephen Levins, Ottawa; Spc. Phillip Crabtree, Clearwater; Spc. Jeffery Fisher, Independence, Mo.; Spc. Ben Gettler, Fort Scott; Spc. Joseph Goodale, Wichita; Spc. Josh Heaslet, Westmoreland; Spc. Joshua Littlejohn, Kansas City, Kan.; Spc. Margarita Lopez, Fort Riley; Spc. Lukas Peters, Chanute; Spc. Kyle Simmons, Topeka; and Spc. Joshua Thompson, Topeka.

There was one missed note by the bugler, as there was at the Auld Soldier's interment.  Personally, I don't mind that - because it means a live bugler was present, and not a soldier standing there holding a digital bugle that is playing a recording.  And that's a good thing.

Welcome home, veterans and family.  We're sorry it took so long to bring you back to garrison.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance - In Memoriam of the Forgotten:



They are forgotten no more.

Well done to all concerned, and thanks for sharing this wonderful event.
 John, the Armorer and John (Not The Armorer), to both of you, I just want to say, "Thank you."