SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Fourteen military veterans were honored Friday during a special public funeral at the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Gov. Susana Martinez delivered the eulogy as the veterans were laid to rest with military honors. She said that whether they’re a five-star general or a private, airman or seaman, veterans deserve to be thanked and remembered for their service and sacrifice.
The remains of the 14 veterans were unclaimed by family members. They were laid to rest as part of the state’s Forgotten Heroes Burial Program.
Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas of the New Mexico National Guard, Veterans Services Secretary Timothy Hale and veterans from throughout New Mexico attended the service.
Hale said he’d like to strengthen the organizations that serve veterans and create support systems so that no veteran dies without a family, whether it’s made up of blood relatives or the people who care enough to mark their passing.
“If we are successful with those other programs, we’ll see the numbers in this one diminish,” Hale told the Santa Fe New Mexican (http://bit.ly/Hu8Xwv).
The soldiers’ cremated remains, or vessels representing them, were displayed Friday in individual containers covered by a single American flag. Martinez accepted the folded flag at the end of the ceremony.
This marked the second Forgotten Heroes ceremony that has been held at the cemetery this year. Six other veterans were buried in a similar ceremony in March.