Orphaned veterans' remains interred at a ceremony Wednesday

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EVANSVILLE, Wyo. Twenty-three veterans finally got the funeral they deserved Wednesday.

The remains of veterans being honored at the ceremony in Evansville, Wyo. on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.

The ceremony at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville, Wyo. honored 23 orphaned veterans’ remains from Sheridan, Wyo. Orphaned remains are the remains of someone who died without someone to claim the body.

Tammy Mansfield worked with the Missing in America Project to arrange the ceremony. She is also the president of the Wyoming State Society United States Daughters of 1812. She credits her fellow Wyoming Daughters of 1812 members with making Wednesday’s event possible.

As a veteran herself, Mansfield felt a special connection to the people who were honored. Her husband is also in the military.

“For me, it’s everything. It’s everything that I want for my fellow veterans. It’s what I want for myself when I pass. It’s what I want for my family, for my husband, that people turn out and pay their respects,” she said.

Through research, she also developed a special connection with these late veterans.

“These are not unnamed people. We know who all of them are, which is why I’m sort of attached to them, and the lady at the funeral home is also very attached to them. We researched them. We know where they were born and everything about them in their service for the most part,” Mansfield said.

The chapel at the cemetery was full. Veterans and other community members came to pay their respects to people they never knew.

“I think it speaks to the love this country has for our veterans and our military but it also speaks to the honor these veterans deserve,” said Gov. Mark Gordon, R-Wyoming, who attended the ceremony.

It was Wyoming’s first orphaned veterans' remains interment ceremony.