By Robin Clutters

DENVER (CBS4) – This upcoming Memorial Day weekend, strangers will be honoring the lives of Colorado veterans whose remains went unclaimed. 19 US military service members will be laid to rest in an Honors Burial. They served during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam War. 11 of them are Army veterans, 5 are Navy veterans, 2 are Air Force Veterans, and 1 was in the U.S. Coast Guard.

(credit: CBS)

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1071 decided to start doing Honors Burials for unclaimed remains back in 2014. On CBSN Denver, we talked to Jim Topkoff, who is one of the organizers.

“We started investigating and discovered there were literally hundreds and hundreds of unclaimed remains in in various mortuaries around the state,” said Topkoff.

Some of the veterans who will be buried later this month have had their remains go unclaimed for more than 40 years.

“We just felt all along that it was our duty and responsibility to take care of all veterans from all wars,” said Topkoff. “They’re entitled to the burial they signed up for.”

The Honors Burial Ceremony is coming up on Saturday, May 29, at 10 a.m. at Fairmount Cemetery.

Robin Clutters