2009 Law Paved Way for Dignified Burial of All Unclaimed Soldiers Remains
Assembly members Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace (both D-Bergen/Passaic) joined with Bergen County officials on Thursday to honor Vietnam War veteran Francis Carrasco for his tireless efforts in taking advantage of a 2009 law to help veterans organizations inter the cremains of fallen soldiers that go unclaimed.
Carrasco, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was honored today for his work as chairman of the New Jersey Mission of Honor for Cremains of American Veterans, which works to locate, identify and inter the abandoned cremains of U.S. veterans throughout New Jersey.
The efforts were made easier by a 2009 law (A-2613) that Wagner and the legislature approved, which gives veterans’ organizations the right to receive the cremains of a veteran that have not been claimed by a relative or friend.
“It’s horrible to think that any self-sacrificing veteran could go unclaimed for years and not be given a fitting and honorable farewell,” said Wagner. “Thanks to the efforts of Sgt. Carrasco and the 2009 law we passed, this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. His lifelong sacrifices for his country and his fellow service men and women are both inspiring and admirable.”
“Francis Carrasco has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that all service members who have sacrificed for our country are given a proper farewell,” said Eustace. “For that we salute both him and the memory of all those he has helped to honor.”
Carrasco served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, where he was assigned to a fire support base near the demilitarized zone in South Vietnam from 1969-70. After being wounded in battle, he received three bronze stars and a Vietnam Service medal.