May 30—The cremated remains of three Jasper County veterans will be given a proper farewell and final salute for their sacrifices during a ceremony on Memorial Day at Webb City's Mount Hope Cemetery.
American Legion Post 13 in Joplin will lead the ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday to memorialize and honor local veterans Jimmy Smart, Jimmy Bryant and Thomas Brunson.
Mount Hope Cemetery, 3700 N. Range Line Road in Webb City, includes an outdoor chapel and a veterans memorial, which is engraved with the names of 77 Missouri Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
In 2019, the Joplin American Legion discovered several mortuaries in the region that had unclaimed cremated remains of veterans. Since then, Post 13 has conducted ceremonies for those who may have been previously forgotten.
"Members of Post 13, working closely with our local mortuaries learned that the cremains of these forgotten brothers-in-arms were unclaimed and have not received their due respect," said Bob Harrington, Post 13 commander, in a statement. "This ceremony will be like the one conducted by Post 13 in 2019. Our members, along with the help of Mount Hope Cemetery, welcome this honor without hesitation."
Patrick Tuttle, Post 13 vice commander, said they've partnered with Mount Hope Cemetery to recognize the fallen military personnel whose ashes were never buried or claimed by family.
"It's the code of no brother left behind," he said. "They were cremated in 2005 and 2016. It's pretty sad that they have gone undetected and unmissed by their brethren and families for all of these years. It's an honor for us to do this. We're going to try to do it every Memorial Day, as long as we find cremains with a connection to Joplin and the area."
Tuttle noted how this will be different from traditional burial services and their ashes will be placed in a vault within the cemetery.
"They're not actually buried," Tuttle said, making it easier for a family if they were to learn of the death and want to claim the ashes. "Even though we're laying them to rest, it's not a formal cemetery-type burial," he said.
The American Legion Honor Guard will fire the 21-gun salute and play military taps. Local and regional American Legion Rider groups will conduct the procession to Mount Hope Cemetery with the cremains.
"Then, either our Honor Guard or the Junior ROTC at the high school will take the remains, and we'll have a formal ceremony to put them in (the vault)," said Tuttle. "We really appreciate Mount Hope for being a partner on this. They have room for about 40 (veterans) all together in this vault that they've created."
Other cities across Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma also plan on hosting Memorial Day events. Here's what's on tap:
—PITTSBURG, Kan. — A program will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at the Pittsburg State University Veterans Memorial, 1909 S. Rouse St.
The keynote speaker is retired Col. Donald Woolfolk, a native of Pratt, Kansas, who is now in his 13th year as the deputy director of intelligence, Navy Special Warfare Command. The program also will include a reading of the names of honorees.
PSU is offering a recording of the Memorial Day program available for viewing on demand any time on May 31 or later on several channels and at 10 a.m. on the local cable access channel, CAPS 13 TV. The broadcast also will be archived on the university's YouTube and Vimeo channels for future viewing at any time.
The PSU Veterans Memorial features a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., more than 3,000 engraved granite pavers, bronze sculptures, as well as the five seals of the uniformed military branches.
—NEOSHO, Mo. — An event to remember and honor those who have served in the military is set for 10 a.m. Monday at the Neosho Patriots Memorial, located at the south end of LaQuesta Drive at Highways 59 and 60.
Dedicated in 2019, the Neosho Patriots Memorial pays tribute to military veterans and first responders.
—MIAMI, Okla. —The city of Miami and the GAR Cemetery will host a ceremony for the public at 9:30 a.m. Monday at 2801 N. Main St. in Miami.
Hunter Bissell, of GAR Cemetery maintenance, will play the guitar and sing "Amazing Grace." The guest speaker this year is Miami City Attorney Ben Loring, who has served as the county district attorney, first assistant district attorney and local state representative.
Due to the need for social distancing, there will be limited seating in place. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs. The ceremony will be streamed live on the GAR Cemetery's Facebook page.
—KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National World War I Museum in Kansas City is hosting a series of events and displays for the public.
A ceremony will kick off at 10 a.m. Monday at the National WWI Museum and Memorial courtyard. It will include remarks from dignitaries and a keynote address from Lt. Col. Eric Jacobson.
The Memorial Day bell tolling ceremony will follow at noon Monday, with a presentation of colors, a wreath laying and a reading.
The Flags of the Forgotten Soldier display calls attention to the fact that 140 veterans are lost to suicide every week. It will be on display through Monday.
More Kansas City Memorial Day events can be found at www.theworldwar.org/memorialday.