Gabryszak: Unclaimed Veterans’ Remains Deserve Proper, Respectful Burial
April 9, 2010

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) is co-sponsoring legislation that would ensure the cremated remains of veterans are properly and respectfully disposed of if they go unclaimed (A.10166).

Gabryszak said while millions of American service men and women have fought in numerous wars and conflicts across the globe and carried out humanitarian relief projects on behalf of the United States, the remains of some of those heroes sit unclaimed and forgotten on the shelves in funeral homes, hospitals, prisons, crematories and other facilities.

Specifically, the legislation allows qualified tax exempt veterans’ organizations to receive and respectfully dispose of the cremated remains of the unclaimed bodies of veterans, if they haven’t been claimed by a family member or friend a year after the cremation.

Currently, a massive, nation wide effort has been put in place to help locate our missing veterans. The Missing in America Project was established with the intention of working with members of the American Legion, volunteer services and veteran organizations to do just what this bill would allow them to do, which is to locate and identify the unclaimed remains of our forgotten veterans.

“New Jersey and Illinois have adopted similar laws relating to the unclaimed remains of veterans after cremation,” Gabryszak said. “It’s time New York does the same and passes a law that gives these men and women – heroes who fought for our country and freedom – the respect they deserve.”

Gabryszak said while it’s alarming to hear that so many individuals who gave the ultimate sacrifice have been forgotten and abandoned for decades, he’s fighting to ensure they are no longer lost to the ages.

“This is such common sense legislation,” Gabryszak said. “It’s time to pass this bill into law so we can honor our fallen heroes by laying them to rest with a proper burial.”

If you would like to learn more about The Missing in American Project, go to their Web site or go to Erie County Veterans Services to learn more about this and other services that are available at

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