In 1994, the Indigent Unclaimed Veteran Ceremony was created after a small group of volunteers from the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee (RNCSC) discovered that veterans who were unclaimed were unfortunately not given their earned honors at their burial.
In response, the RNCSC created the Indigent Unclaimed Veteran Ceremony that would bestow and give the deserved honor to the men and women for the sacrifice they gave for their country.
The Indigent Unclaimed Veteran Ceremony is a thirty-minute ceremony conducted at the Riverside National Cemetery in Shelter G, near the Medal of Honor Memorial. The Ceremony is held on the third Wednesday of every month at 9 A.M.
A representative of the RNCSC gathers a list of names of unclaimed veterans from the previous month’s services from the offices of the Riverside National Cemetery in preparation of the ceremony.
At the Indigent Unclaimed Veteran Ceremony, the names will be read one at a time. After each name is read a bell is rung in honor of their memory. At the conclusion of the reading of the names, the Honor Guard announces the gun salute and Taps is played for the veterans who have passed.
Once Taps is concluded, the Marines will unfold and refold the flag into Washington’s Cap, which is then handed to the Air Force who will present it to a RNCSC representative who stands as a representative of the individual’s memory or family members that were unable to claim or attend.
Everyone is welcomed to attend the ceremony. There are no guidelines or restrictions to who may attend in honor of the unclaimed veterans as they are given their honors.
The Ceremony is also helpful for family members who were unable to attend the service of loved ones who have passed on without their knowledge. In the event a family member is present for one of the services of a veteran being honored at the Indigent Unclaimed Veterans Ceremony, the flag will then be presented to them to take home.