Unaccompanied veterans honored

By David Fleet
Holly Twp.- Sidney George Gilmour was born Jan. 18, 1927, attended Flint Northern High School and at 20 years old enlisted in the U. S. Navy. He served on the escort carrier USS Palau and was released from duty July 2, 1947.
He died Aug. 5, 2005, with interment at Great Lakes National Cemetery without family or friends in attendance.
Gilmour was one of 14 service men remembered at noon, Sept. 11, when the Daughters of the American Revolution of Michigan hosted the Unaccompanied Veterans Burial Service at Great Lakes National Cemetery.

The 14 soldiers receiving military honors were buried at Great Lakes National Cemetery without family or friends in attendance. The Daughters of the American Revolution arranged with the cemetery director and staff to now perform the service on Sept. 11, Patriot Day.
“Not only do we remember the attack on our soil that occurred 18 years ago today and the tragic loss of life it brought, but we also remember and honor 14 veterans that were interred at Great Lakes National cemetery this past year,” said Sean Baumgartner, director Great Lakes National Cemetery. “They had no family, no friends and no one to see them laid to rest.”
Each flower provided included the name of the veteran being honored during the service. Because these veterans were unaccompanied, each person taking a flower will now adopt the veteran for the day by saying a prayer for them and reflecting on their willingness to serve the nation.
Dawn Bastian and Carol Powers, both of Atlas Township along with other members of the Genesee County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution attended the service. They adopted Gilmour and laid the flower on his grave following the service on Wednesday.
“It’s a privilege to be here at Great Lakes National Cemetery and honor our veterans,” said Bastian, past DAR regent. “Today we remember Gilmour and others here at Great Lakes National Cemetery for their service to our country..”
Veterans attended the service from the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force each properly folded a flag 13 times on the triangles, representing the 13 original colonies. The folded flag represents the tri-cornered hats worn by the Patriots of the American Revolution. The flag is then presented as a keepsake to the next of kin or an appropriate family member. Since no family member was there for the 14 veterans honored on Wednesday, the American flags were handed to the DAR members.
Gina LaCroix, state regent DAR of Michigan, from the Waterford chapter serves on the Great Lakes National Cemetery advisory council.
“They needed a group to step up and honor the men and women that have been interred without family or friends within the last year,” said LaCroix. “This is what the Daughters of the American Revolution do, our focus is education, historic preservation and patriotism. The symbolism behind this is the men that we are honoring today, because they were interred without friends or family they never received full military honor. The presentation of the flag is a portion of the military honor. We accepted those flags and adopting these veterans.”

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