Four men who served in the U.S. Armed Forces will get a full military funeral, even despite being classified as "homeless" at the time of their death.
The funerals will be arranged through Dignity Memorial's Homeless Veterans Burial Program, which aims to accommodate veterans whose remains are left unclaimed.
On Sunday, April 18, the men will be honored in a full military ceremony at Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall. The ceremony includes prayers by Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami of Newhall, Chaplain Marjorie Link of Henry Mayo Hospital, and the raising of the flags by the Memorial Honor Detail Team from the Riverside National Cemetery.
The veterans' names will be read and a wreath placed in their honor. Robert L. Good of Stevenson Ranch, a Bronze Star recipient in the Vietnam War, will say a few words in remembrance of the Veterans' service to the United States and accept the American Flag as a representative of the Veterans' extended military family. The service will include a gun salute, bagpipes and Taps. All attendees will be given dog tags engraved with the names of the decedents. A light reception will be held after the ceremony, and the veterans will be escorted to Riverside National Cemetery for interment on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.
The veterans being honored Sunday are:
- John C. Newman, who was with the U.S. Navy from 1942- 1945
- Raymond Frajardo, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1957-1963
- Larry Lavine, a member of the U.S. Army from 1957-1958
- Edward Goodrich, an Army veteran who served from 1962-1965.
The ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 1:00 p.m.
"The Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program is a cooperative effort designed to ensure that veterans who are homeless, indigent and have no family receive the honors in death that their service in life merited," said Jim Biby, market director of the Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers in the Los Angeles area. "We're honored to be able to give these veterans the dignified military service they deserve."
The program is a cooperative effort among Dignity Memorial funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers, Riverside National Cemetery, the Veterans Administration, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and local veterans' organizations and veterans' advocates.
Through the program, Dignity Memorial's Eternal Valley will provide preparation of the body, transportation, casket and coordination of the funeral service. Riverside National Cemetery will provide the opening and closing of the gravesite, a grave liner, a headstone or marker and the graveside ceremony.
Eternal Valley is located at 23287 North Sierra Highway in Newhall, California, 91321.