For Forgotten Veterans, a Dignified End

Mr. Garcia had no savings or close relatives. His body went to a city morgue, which for unclaimed bodies like Mr. Garcia’s can serve as a purgatory before ignominious burials in unmarked mass graves in the potter’s field that New York City operates for the indigent dead, on Hart Island near the Bronx.

But there was one pivotal fact that steered Mr. Garcia away from this grim fate — he was a veteran, an Army corporal who had served honorably during the Vietnam War, and therefore entitled to a military burial paid for by the federal government at a national veterans cemetery.

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