The remains of 10 military veterans from South Carolina will be interred Friday at a ceremony in Beaufort National Cemetery by an organization that aims to give military funerals to unclaimed veterans, an organization spokesman said.
The unclaimed, cremated remains of the 10 veterans will be buried in a service at the cemetery on Boundary Street at 1:30 p.m. Friday, said Steve Goulet, S.C. state coordinator for the Missing in America Project. The ceremony is open to the public.
Veterans from three counties -- Charleston, Horry and Lexington -- and from four armed service branches -- the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy -- will be interred Friday, Goulet said. Their service stretches from 1951 to 1974, encompassing the Korean and Vietnam wars, he said.
Goulet said the Missing in America Project seeks to bury the remains of veterans that go unclaimed -- usually because there are no family members to claim them --and end up in storage at funeral homes and coroner's offices around the country. Goulet said the organization tries to verify whether the stored remains are veterans, like the 10 to be buried Friday.
Friday's ceremony will be the sixth time since 2012 the South Carolina chapter has interred veterans' remains, but the first time they will be buried in Beaufort, Goulet said. Previous burials took place at Florence National Cemetery and Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
Goulet said a 2012 state law opened the doors for funeral homes and service organizations to step in and bury the veterans' remains. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley in May 2012, allows a funeral home to either bury or turn over the remains to veterans service organizations for burial, with veteran's benefits covering the cost.
Friday's ceremony will begin at the Beaufort Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Castle Rock Road at 12:50 p.m., where a procession to the cemetery will start. A hearse from Anderson Funeral Home will carry the remains of the veterans to the cemetery, followed by members of the American Legion, VFW and Patriot Guard riders, funeral director Gary Queck said.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.