By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4)– The remains of 22 military veterans were laid to rest in Denver Friday, decades after their deaths.READ MORE: Second Body Found In Poudre Canyon After Devastating Flood & Mudslide
The cremated remains of World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and peacetime veterans sat for years in temporary urns at an Aurora mausoleum.
A group of living veterans decided to make Fort Logan National Cemetery their final resting place. A final salute and roll call on Friday honored the unclaimed remains of the forgotten heroes.
“It breaks our hearts, collectively,” said Jim Topkoff, chair of the Honors Burial Project.
The project was put together by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1071.
The 12 Army soldiers, six Navy sailors, and four Air Force airmen who sat unclaimed for so many years finally received the military burial they deserved, Topkoff said.READ MORE: Colorado Boy Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries After Falling From 2nd Floor Of Town Center Of Aurora
“Those who are being honored today went to their final reward many years ago. But this, to us, is something that they deserved, and we’re honored to be a part of it,” Topkoff said.
Members of the Colorado Woodworker’s Guild built and donated handmade funeral urns for the veterans’ remains.
“This fit right in with our mission, and so many of our members are veterans, so they immediately identified with this (project) and got right to work,” said Jim McNamee, guild president.
Among more than 100 people paying their respects was Jack Pansini, a World War II veteran.
“It’s good for me to be here and honor what they have done,” Pansini told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Friday’s ceremony was the second Interment by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1071.MORE NEWS: New Wildfire Shuts Down Part Of I-70 Between Eagle & Gypsum
Honors Burial Project members anticipated honoring and interring hundreds more veterans in the next few years.