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Providing a Final Resting Place for All Veterans

April 8, 2016
Steve Sodders - IA State Senator , Traer Star-Clipper

A change in Iowa law will give all veterans the respect and final resting place they deserve. HF 2266 helps solve a problem that goes unnoticed by many: the unclaimed remains of veterans who died alone-whether away from family, without family or homeless.

The bill, unanimously approved by the Legislature, will allow local veterans organizations to give the unclaimed remains of veterans a proper funeral with military honors and lay them to rest.

HF 2266 creates a process for funeral homes with unclaimed cremated remains to work with the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs to identify them. If the remains of a veteran, their spouse or their dependent remain unclaimed, a veterans' organization will make arrangements for inurnment at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, among other heroes who served our country.

Advocates for the bill include the American Legion of Iowa and the Missing in America Project. Launched in 2007 to find veterans who've died but remain shelved in funeral homes, the Missing in America Project locates, identifies and inters unclaimed cremains of veterans around the country.

Currently, Iowa funeral directors cannot release cremated remains to anyone but a family member. This proposal sets up a framework to protect everyone's rights and provide closure. HF2266 came to us with little fanfare, but it ensures our veterans receive the honor they deserve.

Learn more about the Missing in America Project at www.miap.us. You can find out what the American Legion of Iowa is doing to help at www.ialegion.org/missing_in_america_project.htm.

 
 

 

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