Seventeen veterans without any family or loved ones left were remembered, honored and laid to rest Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.
The service, “A Promise Kept,” was the third Missing in Nevada ceremony held in Southern Nevada. It is done with the Nevada Veterans Coalition, which works with other organizations to identify the unclaimed remains of veterans stored at a mortuary or crematorium to give them a final resting place.
“It’s both humbling and an honor to share in this ceremony,” said keynote speaker, Ret. Lt. Gen. Emil Bedard of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Bedard retired after 37 years of active duty and then served with the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was at the Pentagon, 45 yards away from where the plane hit.
“You have to ask yourself … where is the pride in our veterans … the pride is in this room today as we pay tribute to them and take them to their final resting place,” he said.
He encouraged those in attendance to talk to veterans, find out how they are doing and not be afraid to say thank you to those in uniform in order to prevent more veterans from being unclaimed.
“I think it’s fitting that the younger generation has an idea of what … veterans gave and how they protected the great things we have,” he said.
Of the veterans honored, one fought in World War I, 12 fought in World War II, two served in the Korean War and one in Vietnam. The veterans represented the Navy, Air Force, Army and the Marine Corps.
“Our mission is to ensure veterans return home,” said retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bobi Oates.
Oates is also the vice president for Women Veterans of Nevada, the group that sponsored the service.
The service was hosted by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services and coordinated by the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Missing in Nevada Southern Planning Committee, Pahrump Family Mortuary and Desert Memorial Cremation &Burial.
The first two Missing in Nevada ceremonies were in June and October 2018, during which 47 unclaimed veterans were buried at the cemetery in Boulder City.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.
The 17 veterans interred at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Clifford Bush (1912-1994), U.S. Navy, WWII
Robert Davis (1930-2008), U.S. Air Force
Louis Esposito (1917-1992), U.S. Army, WWII
George Evans (1932-2011), U.S. Air Force
Edwin Fawcett (1924-1994), U.S. Army, WWII
John Gardner (1933-2003), U.S. Air Force, Korean War
Theodore Gorney (1920-1994), U.S. Army, WWII
James Greene (1916-1996), U.S. Army, WWII
Harris Hawke (1926-1994), U.S. Army, WWII
Kenneth Hunt (1898-1995), U.S. Army, WWI
Clifford Lambert (1917-2008), U.S. Marine Corps, WWII
John Lazich (1916-1994), U.S. Army, WWII
Donald Little (1944-2008), U.S. Air Force, Vietnam
Herbert Merriam (1919-1996), U.S. Army, WWII
George Nussbaum (1908-1995), U.S. Army, WWII
Robert Paulson Sr. (1932-1996), U.S. Navy, Korean War
Orrin Upin (1907-1996), U.S. Army, WWII