By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily
Evansville — The unclaimed cremated remains of 23 United States soldiers were interred with full military honors at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville this week.
Bagpipes played as members of the Wyoming chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders escorted the soldiers’ remains to the Tom Walsh Chapel, where services were held. Greeting the fallen were members of local military, police and firefighters. Along the entrance to the cemetery, more than a dozen people stood at attention, holding flagpoles.
The services were organized by Tammy Mansfield, state president of the Wyoming State Society Daughters of 1812, a volunteer women’s serviced group dedicated to promoting patriotism. Also helping to organize the event was the Missing in America Project, a group formed to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed cremated remains of American Veterans.
Officials attending the services included Gov. Mark Gordon, state Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Casper, and a representative from the office of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.
The names of the 23 soldiers being honored were read aloud as the attendees who filled the chapel sat silently. Upon the completion of the reading, and with military precision, a solemn soldier presented a folded American flag to Mansfield. The ceremony ended with the bagpipers playing “Amazing Grace,” followed by a 21-gun salute.
Following the services, organizers and dignitaries gathered outside to speak with the public.
“For me, this is personal, and it’s especially personal when you see people who we honor this way, who have their remains been unclaimed.” said Gordon.
Gordon praised organizer Mansfield and the Missing in America Project.
“It shows that this country has a love that somebody would have the initiative to say, ‘We need to find out who these people are, and properly honor them,’” he said.
To organize the day’s honors it took “…less than a year, and MIAP kicked in about June.” said Mansfield.
The Patriot Guard Riders is a national group formed to show respect for fallen members of the military by escorting their remains to funeral services. According to Wyoming Patriot Guard Riders’ Sr. Capt. Richard Parks, the riders have escorted remains to 88 services throughout Wyoming this year.