- Image 1 of 2
- Image 2 of 2
The remains of 20 indigent U.S. military veterans were laid to rest Saturday in a mass funeral with full military honors at Calverton National Cemetery in New York.
Newsday reports that the ceremony, attended by Democratic Reps. Steve Israel and Tim Bishop, was the nation's largest interment of unclaimed military remains at a local veterans cemetery.
All of the veterans died recently but no one claimed their remains.
The men buried had served in the military between the 1940's and 1970's, according to Newsday, and ranged in rank from private first class to master sergeant.
"These are virtually forgotten veterans who were literally left on the shelf," Vietnam veteran Lawrence Murphy told the newspaper.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says the service is part of a national effort to clear a backlog of unburied or unclaimed veterans' remains.
A folded flag from each coffin was handed to mourners standing in for absent relatives. They included members of Gold Star Mothers, a group of parents who lost their children in the military.
The Associated Press contributed to this report