MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - 44 servicemen and women now have a final resting place as the 4th annual Missing In America interment service took place at the Washington State Veteran Cemetery.
"Everybody, regardless of who you are deserves a final resting place, and in particular America's war heroes," Cemetery director Rudy Lopez said. These individuals passed and unfortunately never had a loved one claim them, for a lot of different reasons or they have no family."
Lopez added these soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen were temporarily forgotten but, by working with local medical examiners, coroners and funeral homes they are able to give these servicemen a permanent resting place.
"With this particular interment, one individual in particular died in 1971, and some of the most recent died in 2014," Lopez said.
The veterans among the 44 interned Friday came from all across the Inland Northwest and among them was Doris Branson of Spokane. Branson was an Army lieutenant who had served in Korea.
Doris lived in Spokane from 1983 on, and she was extremely active in the community, loyal to her people and her friends and she was a very caring person," Paul Fuchs said.
Fuchs had only known her for a short time, but after learning after her passing she had been sitting on the shelf at Community Creation since last November he knew he had to honor her.
"She's here today because she deserves to be here," Fuchs said.
Branson didn't talk to her family in the days leading up to her death and so there was no knowledge of her death. When Fuchs told her family of her passing, they knew the Veterans Cemetery is where she would want to be resting eternally next to her fellow brothers and sisters in arms.
"They probably experienced some of the more horrific things than anybody should ever have to see and certainly give us the freedoms that we enjoy today," Lopez said.
The Patriot Guard Riders played a big part in the interment ceremony and one of them, Bob Patrick, was responsible for finding 34 of the veterans interred Friday. Unfortunately Patrick was involved in a serious motorcycle accident on his way to the ceremony and was unable to attend. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.