AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Wednesday evening, the Missing in America Project hosted its annual honor mission at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial, where the community gathered to pay respect to Amarillo-area veterans whose cremains have gone unclaimed.
Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner said this ceremony got its start in our area when Joel Carver, the Panhandle representative for the Missing in America Project, came to her in 2015. Carver found the cremains of several veterans in the basement of the district court building.
“I can’t imagine a person going into war, to fight for our freedom. And then end up alone in Amarillo, Texas or wherever and die. No one ever claimed them. No one even knew they were dead,” said Judge Tanner. “So this is something that we are rectifying, to make sure that the public knows that these people existed and that they fought for our freedom.”
The Missing in America Project’s mission is to find, identify, and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of honorably discharged American veterans who have been forgotten.
“Many of these veterans have shared a portion of their lives to protect our country and ourselves and it gives us a chance to take the missing and the unclaimed and give them the honors that they they were promised,” said Carver. “So we’re happy to do that.”
This year’s ceremony honored three people, PFC Ronald Beminio and SP4 John Halford who both served in the Army during the Vietnam War and Private Douglas Wood who served in the Army in peacetime.
Now, those veterans are headed to their final resting place in honor.
“I’ve come from a military family myself. My grandfather was in World War Two, both my parents were and I served, and to see the community come out and support these men that, for reasons s that we don’t know why, they went alone,” said James Beal, a veteran. “But for them to know that in their last trip, they’re not alone. It means more than I think I could ever put into words.”
Judge Tanner said the Missing in America Project will take the cremains of those veterans and five more in Lubbock to Fort Sam Houston National Ceremony in San Antonio for a full military funeral. She said the Patriot Guard will also ride with them on motorcycles.