WALLA WALLA, Wash. - As the nation remembered the thousands of lives lost on September 11th, 2001, a small group gathered in Walla Walla to remember hundreds of others who have been forgotten.
There are several ways a person's remains can end up on a shelf in the coroner's office. Whether it be no money for a burial or the fact that someone has no family. But on Wednesday, after a years-long effort by the coroner's office, all of the lost souls in Walla Walla are now laid to rest.
Religious leaders shared the stage, bidding final farewells to more than 200 brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, babies and the elderly.
"For us in the coroner's office, it's closure. Like I said, the previous coroner and his deputy had started it and now we get to finish it," said Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood.
"They truly aren't unknown but unfortunately they just didn't have the family, the support structure to bring closure when they parted and that's what Coroner Greenwood did today for us," said Walla Walla City Manager Nabiel Shawa.
The forgotten ashes now have a home in the Mountain View Cemetery public crypt.
"I'm really glad the city stepped up and worked with Coroner Greenwood and participated in making this happen. It was a very respectful, dignified and really touching ceremony this morning," Shawa said.
"As far as the families who haven't claimed their loved ones, they can rest assured that they're in a proper place and had been laid to rest with respect and some sort of service," Greenwood said.
A number of the unclaimed remains were found to be veterans. Those ashes were moved to the State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake where those men and women were buried with full military honors.