Middle Village service held for burial of 100th indigent Vietnam veteran

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) continue to support their brothers and sisters in arms, even after death. On Friday morning at Hess-Miller Funeral Home, Chapter 32 of the VVA held a ceremony for their 100th indigent veteran.

Edsell Smith served in the United States Marine Corps from 1972 to 1976, and when he died this year he was survived by no family members. When a member of the military dies with no family members, the VAA takes responsibility in burying their fellow veteran.

“We are the organizational friends of indigent veterans, which in essence makes us the family of the veteran,” said Paul Narson, president of Chapter 32 of the VAA. “We hold a ceremony for the veteran and we will go to Calverton National Cemetery and inter him. We will fold the flag, present the flag to a member of the organization. We bring the flag back to our headquarters and hang it on the wall with a plaque with his name on it next to the other 99 veterans.”

Smith’s coffin was draped with an American flag at Hess-Miller Funeral Home as members of the VVA presented the colors.

“I believe this chapter has done a real public service by highlighting this issue,” said John Rowan, national president of the VVA. “And making sure that, at least going forward, that no one gets lost in the shuffle.”

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