MARANA — Under bright blue skies, dozens gather at the Arizona Veterans Cemetery in Marana Saturday.
The Southern Arizona Missing In America Project buries 17 unclaimed or homeless veterans complete with a ceremony of appreciation.
“It’s closure for them and it’s the promise of closure for us,” Ross Scanio, an Iraq veteran and spokesman for the Missing In America Project said. “It’s difficult to quantify the impact of being in combat and losing your fellow service members or just the carnage that is war.”
Servicemen folded American flags and presented them to veterans in attendance including Carl Randall.
Randall served in both Korea and Vietnam.
Last fall he and his wife lived in Paradise, California.
They lost their home and dozens of neighbors to the ferocious Camp Fire.
“We lost everything,” Randall said.
This veteran’s prized flags and medals from the wars perished.
“We had five minutes to get out of there,” he said.
Randall’s fellow comrades of this generation gifted him another flag Saturday and he was very moved.
“i’m very humbled,” Randall said.
“It’s the reminder that we have been a part of a brotherhood and sisterhood, that we know we will always take care of our own,” Scanio said.