By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – On Wednesday, the names of men were read aloud to people who didn’t even know them. The men gave their lives for the country, but were never given a proper burial and sat unclaimed.

fort logan honors burial 6pkg transfer frame 1987 Unclaimed Remains Of American Heroes Given Proper Burial

(credit: CBS)

Regardless, Jim Topkoff and the Vietnam Veterans of America #1071 are behind the ceremonies on Wednesday.

fort logan honors burial 6pkg transfer frame 80 Unclaimed Remains Of American Heroes Given Proper Burial

(credit: CBS)

“We just felt like it was our responsibility to step up to the plate,” Topkoff said.

The 14 veterans served in World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War. One of them was even awarded a Purple Heart.

fort logan honors burial 6vo transfer frame 0 Unclaimed Remains Of American Heroes Given Proper Burial

(credit: CBS)

The group found the cremains of soldiers just sitting at a cemetery in Wheatridge unclaimed.

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(credit: CBS)

“Some of them have been sitting on a shelf for 40, 50, 60 years” said Topkoff. “It’s really quite a shame and of course we don’t know why. We just know that they served honorably in the United States military and earned the right to be buried out here.”

The unidentified men are part of a group of 90 veterans who the Vietnam Veterans of America recovered at just this one cemetery since 2015. They endured red tape and lots of effort to perform the ceremonies Wednesday.

“It’s quite a process to go through” said Topkoff.

fort logan honors burial 6pkg transfer frame 470 Unclaimed Remains Of American Heroes Given Proper Burial

(credit: CBS)

It’s all so the group can fulfill a promise they made to one another.

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“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” Topkoff said.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.

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