Honor bestowed for war veterans whose remains were never claimed in New Jersey

MONMOUTH COUNTY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Communities in New Jersey came together to honor 23 war veterans whose remains were never claimed.

Those military members finally got a proper sendoff on Wednesday.

Their names had been forgotten, but veterans from World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict and Vietnam received the overdue honor they deserved.

Barbara Gulick's grandfather Joseph served in WWII and he died 24 years ago. His ashes were left in an urn at a funeral home and eventually disappeared.

But Gulick never forgot.

"He was in the Army serving on a boat because at that time the Navy had just a few boats, but he was on a boat, and my son's middle name is Joseph, he was named after him, he is in the Navy right now," she said.

The Vietnam Veterans Chapter 12 found the urn and now a missing piece of Gulick's life has been restored.

"Not having that proper burial and not having a place that my kids can come see him, it's pretty impactful, and that's the biggest blessing," Gulick said.

The procession to the burial site began with a service to honor the 23 veterans and two spouses at a police station in Manalapan.

The unclaimed urns had been left in funeral homes and Rich Gough with Vietnam Veterans of America did the research to find the forgotten vets.

"Some of these remains we found are 30, 40, 50 years old, so their family at that time have long moved," Gough said.

Now the veterans can rest in peace - an honor they have long deserved.

"This is just a small sample really of what it is around the country when it comes to the Cremains Project and we just wanted to raise awareness and give them that fitting tribute," Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said.

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