Joplin’s American Legion Post 13 honors unclaimed soldiers

WEBB CITY, Mo. –“Jimmy Bryant, Thomas Brunson, and Jimmy Smart, they have a connection to Jasper County. We know that much,” said Patrick Tuttle, Vice Commander of American Legion Post 13. 

These three men’s cremated remains were given their final resting place on Monday.

Across the country are thousands of veterans whose remains sit on mortuary shelves.

“What’s important to us right now to focus on to make sure these veterans are not sitting on some shelf someplace unclaimed at least here they have a resting place they’ve gotten their full military honors,” Tuttle said.

Travis Boyd with Mount Hope Cemetary highlights the importance of giving these men a final place to rest alongside their fellow soldiers.

“Well I just feel that it’s our duty to make sure that they’re taken care of for the sacrifice that they made for us,” said Boyd.

The ceremony was unable to take place last year due to the pandemic, one observer who’s come out to mount hope for past ceremonies said it holds special importance for him, and he was glad to be back. 

“Cause if you, well if you don’t teach the next generation they forget, and George Washinton had a great quote about that, if you forget the veterans, then, they’re no longer remembered and you don’t have people willing to stand up to fight the next fight. because no one honors them,” said Marty Yates.

Also in attendance was Missouri senator Bill White, who is a member of Joplin’s American Legion Post 13. He said now these three will have a place to be remembered and even recognized.

“People that walk by are gonna look down and see their name and see that they served in the army for these three and it’s a fitting tribute that they are remembered again. and they’ll have a final place where their name is going to be there hopefully for forever so that they can be remembered and their service acknowledged,” White said.

The Cemetary plans to hold these ceremonies every year until all of these unclaimed soldiers are taken care of and given a final resting place. They also say in the future they hope to build a fallen, but not forgotten monument for soldiers like the ones honored today.