Though the six veterans whose service era spanned the Civil War to Vietnam had no known relatives to see them rendered full honors and final respects at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, they were not forgotten.
Hundreds of service members and senior military leaders came out for the mid-morning service under rain-threatening skies to pay tribute to the two Union Army brothers, a Marine, a sailor, an airman and a Coast Guardswoman.
Their unclaimed cremated remains were recovered by the Missing in America Project. The veterans are the first to be inurned in the cemetery’s ninth and last columbarium.
Several weeks before yesterdayís dedication of Columbarium 9, Kathryn Condon, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries, said, “The military traditions associated with burials at Arlington National Cemetery, the nation’s premier military cemetery, are honoring these heroes who were identified by the Missing In America Project.
“I can’t think of a better way to dedicate this hallowed ground, she continued, ìthan by honoring these forgotten heroes who until now, did not have a resting place befitting their service and sacrifice.
Part of the cemetery’s three-part expansion program, Columbarium Court 9 allows for 20,296 niches for cremation urns. The $12.9 million project covers 2.35 acres – the length of two football fields – and is more than twice the size of the next-largest columbarium at Arlington.
Following dedication remarks by two military chaplains, a lone horse-drawn caisson carried a single flag-draped casket to symbolize each of the six urns. Peeling off from the caisson, casket details from each service branch bore a rectangular urn engraved with the veteran’s name and service emblem which the detail placed on a pedestal, over which a flag was presented and folded.
After the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) firing party let off three rifle volleys, Taps was played. The urns were each placed in niches side-by-side and a marble cover ñ each engraved with the veteran’s name, rank, service branch, date of birth and death, and the words “You are not Forgotten” — was placed over the top.
The committal service honored the following six veterans:
- Army 1st Lt. Zuinglius K. McCormack (1843-1912), served with the Indiana 132nd Infantry Regiment in 1864 during the Civil War. He saw action with Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s Army of the Tennessee in such campaigns as Buzzard Roost, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain and the Battle of Jonesboro.
- Army Pvt. Lycurgus McCormack (1845-1908), served with the Indiana 103rd Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. He saw action in July 1863, helping to repel a Confederate force of 6,000 troops under the command of Brig. Gen. John Morgan in what would become the Battle of Corydon, the only Civil War battle fought in Indiana.
- Marine Corps Pfc. Albert Klatt (1921-1999), served with the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific island-hopping campaign during World War II. He fought at the Battles of Guinea, Peleliu and Okinawa.
- Air Force Staff Sgt. Dennis Banks (1943-2004), joined the Air Force in 1967 and served a combat tour in Vietnam. He left the service in 1971.
- Seaman 2nd Class Peter Schwartz (1898-1986), served with the Navy during World War II from 1917-1919.
- U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Seaman 2nd Class Virginia Wood (1923-2010), enlisted in 1944 during World War II as a SPAR, the nickname for the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve.