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Legislators hear bill involving unidentified cremains of veterans

Annapolis state house
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 22:43:49-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Legislators will be hearing several bills this session concerning veterans.

One of them Senate Bill 84, introduced by Senator Bryan Simonaire and Senator David Peters, addresses unidentified cremains of veteran's. Funeral homes and crematories sometimes end up with unidentified cremains.

Senator Peters got a bill passed in 2015 to help identify cremains that are those of veterans. The 2015 bill said funeral homes must notify veterans service organizations, like the VFW or American Legion, so that organization can help identify the cremains and find the family of the veteran.

Senator Peters says this is a basic request we owe our veterans.

"It's a way to identify these individuals so that they are in fact veterans and give them proper final honors," Peters said.

Unclaimed remains happens more than most think. In 2015 there were a thousand in the state of Maryland.

Of those thousand unclaimed remains, nearly 25 percent were veterans. Remains being unclaimed can happen for a variety of reasons.

"People not having the money to bury people, people moving from one state to the other and relatives not having a will."

This new bill will require veterans organizations or funeral homes to notify the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs on the status of the remains and VA Department will assist in finding family member to claim them.