Seven veterans of World War II whose cremated remains have gone unclaimed will be remembered at a special memorial service on Nov. 12 and then laid to rest at Georgia National Cemetery near Canton.

Volunteers with the local Missing in America Project will hold a small service at noon at the Roswell Funeral Home, located at 950 Mansell Road in Roswell, according to John Newport, a retired Marine who volunteers with Missing in America Project.

Following the short service, attendees will join in a procession from the funeral home to Georgia National Cemetery, where the cremains of all seven veterans will be placed in one of the three columbariums at the cemetery. While at the cemetery, an additional service will be held, where all honors and recognition the veterans earned will be given.

“No veteran should be buried without honors,” Newport said. “That’s our mission.”

The national Missing in America Project organization has dedicated itself to ensuring that the unclaimed cremains of veterans are laid to rest with the honor they earned for their military service. As part of the national organization, the North Georgia Missing in America Project works closely with funeral homes and other facilities throughout the area to help achieve this ultimate goal.

Newport said representatives from the American Legion, Marine Corps League, Patriot Guard Riders and Veterans of Foreign Wars will be present during the services, while other organizations, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, have been contacted to take part as well. Members of the public are also welcome to join and pay their final respects to these seven veterans.

The seven WWII veterans to have their ashes placed in a columbarium at Georgia National Cemetery during the service will be: Sgt. William H. Wallengren, PFC (Private, First Class); Robert L. Green, TEC 5 (Technician, Fifth Grade); John Embert, TSGT (Technical Sergeant); John F. Campbell, Jr.; Capt. Frank S. Teasley and Sgt. Robert E. Forrest, Sr., all of whom served in the United States Army or Army Air Force during the war, as well as SPX1C (Specialist, First Class) James Sheridan of the United States Navy.

Newport said the matter of having veterans’ remains go unclaimed is a serious issue across the country. As such, not only does Missing in America Project want to give veterans the final honors they earned and deserve, but also raise awareness about how big of an issue it is.

During the process, Newport said when the project locates cremains, the first task is to identify whose remains they are and whether or not they are a veteran. Once the remains have been confirmed to have been that of a veteran, the project then sends out letters to any potential next-of-kin. Should no next-of-kin be found for the veteran, the project then schedules a service for the veteran’s remains to be given a proper memorial and a permanent resting place.

“It means so much to me to be part of this,” Newport said. “This is a passion for me, making sure these veterans receive their final honors.”

Sadly, in some cases the project has worked with, these remains may go unclaimed for years. For example, the cremains of one of the veterans who will be remembered at the service on Nov. 12 have gone unclaimed for more than 20 years, according to Newport.

Those wishing to join with the local Missing in America Project and pay tribute to these seven veterans are welcome to be a part of the service at Roswell Funeral Home and the procession to Georgia National Cemetery, while those who may not be able to attend the service at the funeral home will still be able to be a part of the service at the cemetery itself. The service at Roswell Funeral Home is scheduled to begin at noon, while the service at Georgia National Cemetery is slated for 2 p.m. Newport said he and others with Missing in America Project are wanting to have the memorial service at the amphitheater in the cemetery and are hopeful a large crowd turns out to pay final tribute to the seven veterans.

For more information about the Nov. 12 service, contact Newport at 678-523-2606 or at newportmiaga@gmail.com.

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