Home found for Vietnam veterans’ cremains left at memorial

Home found for Vietnam veterans’ cremains left at memorial

Sign at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial telling visitor not to leave cremated remains (Photo: National Park Service)

WASHINGTON — In some ways, it will be a new tomb of unknown soldiers.

More than 80 receptacles containing the cremated remains of veterans left at the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall will be buried with full military honors at a private cemetery in Manassas, Va.

The relocation of the cremated remains — referred to as cremains — was arranged by the Missing in America Project, a national nonprofit organization with a sole focus to locate, identify and intern cremated remains of veterans.

Founded in 2006, the organization works with veterans’ groups, service organizations and state funeral commissions, among others, to help its mission.

“At this time we are still working on a lot of the details,” Brigette Corbin, Region 8 Virginia state coordinator, told TMN.

“The Missing in America Project is honored to work with the National Park Service to assist in providing a final resting place for the cremated remains left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” she said.

No date for the transfer or interment has been set. The cremains will be interred with full military honors in an in-ground vault at a private cemetery in Manassas.

The National Park Service, which has custody and care of the National Mall, also maintains the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection. That is an eclectic collection of more than 400,000 objects left by visitors to the wall portion of the memorial, in honor of the men and women who served in Vietnam and whose names appear on the memorial.

However, the leaving of cremains or scattering of ashes at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is prohibited by regulation. Hence, the collection does not have the ability to care for cremated human remains.

Under the five-year renewable agreement, the Missing in America Project will take possession of about 80 sets of cremains left at the memorial since 1989, as well as any future cremains that are left, according to a news release announcing the arrangement.

“We are grateful to Missing in America Project for their assistance in securing a final resting place for these veterans,” Patricia Trap, acting superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in the news release. “This agreement provides a dignified solution that ensures the respectful, perpetual care for cremains left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

To date, the Missing in America project has located 16,439 cremains, identified 3,795 of them and interred 3,522.

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