The national cemetery held a ceremony for unaccompanied veterans

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – Veterans who die far from their families or have no relationship with family members are often buried alone or without a proper military burial.

But a local group is making sure that is never the case here in Kern County.

For those at the memorial, Tuesday represented the unity and respect that there is within the military. One by one, the names of the veterans were read.

The honor guard gave the rifle salute and the trumpets briefly drowned out the sound of the rain as the military and military nodded in tribute.

“It’s really an amazing thing to be able to replace them and say that I’m there for them. Just like we were for each other; we always supported each other when we were in the military and now we have their backs this time around as they rest and can greet them with a good military farewell, ”said Cindy Vanbibber, Director of Bakersfield National Cemetery.

The American flag was folded and handed to Debby Duffel of the Bakersfield National Cemetery Support Committee, from a long line of military personnel in her family. It was the first time that she could intervene to receive the flag.

“The military as a whole is a family and being able to be a part of that family is very heartwarming,” said Duffel.

Combat veteran Benjamin Palmer is no stranger to these ceremonies, in fact, he’s been in the honor guard for 15 years.

He said the circumstances of why these veterans died with no one to claim them should not diminish their sacrifice.

“They are still veterans no matter what happens after that. They’re still veterans, you know, some had mental issues, some had financial issues, but it’s good that they have family here. Although this is not a blood family, it is a military family, ”said Palmer.

Although capacity has been limited due to COVID, those who wish to pay tribute are encouraged to bring wreaths to these graves.


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