PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Lynne Doyle was among those at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies this Veterans Day visiting the graves of her parents. Her father was World War II veteran.
“Rev. E. Jerome Alexis,” she said. “He served in World War II, in the Army – 110th Infantry 28th Division. He was captured in the Hurtgen Forest and was a German prisoner of war for five months.
“He wanted to be buried here and it was such an important part of his life. I think he thought about it all the time and it always means so much to come out here. It’s beautiful and you know they’ll always be well taken care of out here,” Doyle said.
But so many other veterans have not been so well taken care of.
The remains of many who outlived their family and friends, or ended up homeless, never had a funeral, and some unclaimed cremated remains end up on the shelves of coroners’ offices or funeral homes.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy looks at the memorial to the homeless in downtown Pittsburgh on Ft. Pitt Boulevard and wonders how many of them were vets.
“Sure would be nice to know who also put on the uniform and gave to their country,” said Murphy. “The homeless are often times lost and forgotten, but boy, we should never ever forget the veterans.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, of Blair County, is sponsoring a bill to study where the remains of vets are that haven’t yet been given a proper final resting place.
“For those who are alone, those who perhaps died alone without family, those who are homeless,” says Murphy. “You know about a third of our homeless are veterans, which is a sad thing to think that when they’re gone and no one’s there to give them that final salute, so we’d like to make sure that those final honors are given to them, that every veteran should have veterans honors when they’re gone.”
The Shuster Bill could be up for a vote within the next few weeks.