COVID-19 delays military funerals in Webb City

Grave At Mt. Hope Cemetery

Memorial Day is one of the most important days of the year at Webb City’s Mount Hope Cemetery.

“Two years ago we had a flyover. Last year we were able to honor some fallen heroes where their remains were never claimed,” said cemetery general manager Travis Boyd.

The Mount Hope Cemetery teamed up with Joplin’s American Legion when it came to honoring the unclaimed remains of fallen U.S. veterans. They were hoping to do it again this Memorial Day but the pandemic threw a wrench in those plans.

“We originally planned to bury about six to ten more veterans this year. We planned right up until about two weeks ago when we finally had to pull the plug because of COVID-19. We are going to go ahead and do something bigger and better at Veteran’s Day this year,” said Boyd.

Last year’s Memorial Day military funerals at the cemetery drew a crowd of two to three hundred people, and denying 4-Staters a chance to pay their respects to local heroes just wasn’t an option for Mount Hope or Joplin’s American Legion Post 13, who still have the remains of another 30 veterans to properly honor.

“We plan on burying those 30, and probably the way we’ll do it is, we’ll bury 5 or 6 at a time so that they all get the proper individual recognition,” said Joplin American Legion Post 13 Commander Warren Turner.

And while these local heroes may have to wait a bit longer for the military funerals they’ve earned, they’ve already got an eternal resting place waiting for them.

“We have designated a spot in our cemetery that is just for fallen heroes. It’s called the ‘Fallen but not Forgotten,'” said Boyd.