Veterans groups and organizations help military personnel take care of their own. This is an important effort, ensuring that vets don't fall through the cracks and are taken care of after they leave the service. This kind of attention even continues when veterans pass away. In some cases, there wouldn't be a proper burial or honors without the actions of patriotic groups dedicated to acknowledging those who have gone before. Thankfully, such organizations exist. Their efforts cover a range of situations, and two examples can be found below. It's reassuring to know that those who have died are not forgotten.
Ensuring a proper burial
In Copperas Cove, Texas, Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient James Cogan died in early September. Funerals can be expensive, and his family could not afford a burial. According to the Killeen Daily Herald, the resolution to the situation came from Eddie Bell, a Korean War veteran and the state president of a nonprofit group setting aside money to ensure former military members never go without a dignified burial. Scott's Funeral Home helped the organization by lowering the price of the service from approximately $10,000 to $3,500.
The newspaper reported that Bell's group, the Texas Korean War Veterans Association, operates a fund specifically for funeral expenses. Cogan's case is not the first in which the organization had to step in to pay for a service. When veterans service officer Willie Browning passed away, there was no way to pay for interment without the nonprofit taking action. Bell explained those interested in helping can donate to a local chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association.
Purple Heart recognition after 32 years
Another example of honoring a Purple Heart recipient comes from Natick, Massachusetts. In this case, Sgt. Donald Mackenzie's grave did not bear mention of the medals he earned, according to WPXI. The lack of a commemorative plaque first came to the attention of Jeff Campbell, Mackenzie's nephew. Now, working with the Natick Veterans Affairs office, mentions of Mackenzie's two Purple Hearts will be added to the headstone. Paul Carew of the VA stated that such recognition is deserved, but sometimes overlooked if people don't visit graves.
The news station reported that Campbell is especially eager to have his uncle's military service honored due to the extreme hardships he faced, both in combat and following his discharge. During wartime, he narrowly avoided capture in an engagement that killed many of his fellow servicemen. Upon his return home, Mackenzie suffered through homelessness and substance abuse.
Recognition goes on
When veterans pass away, their sacrifices and stories may be forgotten without the efforts of veterans groups and surviving family members. Those who ensure memories live on and honors are bestowed are doing a service to those who have gone before. Purple Heart recipients who have suffered in service of their country remain in these individuals' thoughts, which has led to the creation of lasting monuments for others to visit.