(Albany, New York) On November 11, we celebrate Veteran’s Day, a day for us to pay tribute to those who have fought to protect our country. This year, Governor David Paterson signed my legislation, which will take effect on Veterans’ Day 2010. This law will allow for the respectful disposition of the unidentified cremated remains (cremains) of veterans. There is now a method for funeral directors, undertakers, and funeral firms, who are in the possession of cremated remains for more than one hundred twenty days from the date of cremation, to determine if such remains may be honorably and respectfully interred with the help of veterans’ service organizations. “Millions of Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice by risking their lives to defend this country through military service,” said Senator Parker (D-21). “This law shows the pride we have in our veterans, and reminds them that the people of New York are appreciative of their service.”
This legislation came about due to the many unclaimed cremated veterans’ remains that are sitting on the shelves of funeral homes, crematoriums and other facilities throughout the country. Cremains of veterans from World War I to the Vietnam era in New York and other states have been unable to be interred because the veterans had no known family members to claim them. “Veterans who have defended our country deserve the dignity of a proper burial complete with proper military honors,” said Senator Parker. “It is my hope this legislation will ensure that none of our fallen heroes will be forgotten.”
The Funeral Directors Association of New York State, the Patriot Guard Riders of New York, and the Missing in America Project are among the groups that supported this important legislation. For more information, go to http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/kevin-s-parker.