BOURNE – Five veterans of World War I or II received a long-overdue official farewell Tuesday at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, in an interment service attended not by relatives but by dozens of military supporters.
“Today, you are their family,” cemetery Director John Spruyt told the crowd.
The five Massachusetts men died between 1978 and 1993, but no one ever claimed their cremated remains at a funeral home in the Brookline area, according to cemetery officials. The funeral home recently contacted the cemetery, and with the help of the Veterans Administration, the five men were identified as U.S. military veterans. That identification made them eligible for interment at the National Cemetery, according to cemetery program support assistant Barry Hughes.
The World War I veterans were Cpl. Davis Chaet, 89; Pvt. Harold Klarfeld, 78; Pvt. Marcus Myers, 89; and Pvt. Ralph Porter, 93.The World War II veteran was Capt. Arthur Stern Jr., 81. Ethel Porter, 79, the wife of Ralph Porter, was interred Tuesday as well.
The funeral home officials asked not to be identified, Hughes said Tuesday.
The thought of the veterans being interred without family members present, though, drew the Patriot Guard Riders. The Patriot Guard is a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen military heroes, first responders and honorably discharged veterans. The group’s motto is “Standing for Troops Who Stood for Us.”Most of the members ride motorcycles and many are veterans themselves.
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