Inaugural wreath hanging ceremony for 500 local unnamed veterans

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Remembering our fallen heroes is something that our county does with honor and pride. But what about the unnamed heroes?

It’s the inaugural wreath hanging ceremony at Greenlawn Cemetery on Panama Lane. The ceremony pays recognition to more than 500 of the unmarked graves of Kern veterans.

It’s unknown why there is no headstone or information about the vets but what is known is they were heroes.

“Today we remember the 500 veterans who may have been forgotten but they are not nameless,” Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh said. “We give them the name hero, patriot, American. Thank you for their service.”

Greenlawn Cemetery worked together with the Kern County Veterans Department to honor these unknown soldiers. A plan is in motion to track down the information and get proper headstones for the fallen veterans.

“In coordination with Mr. Lamar with Greenlawn and the Kern County Veterans Department we’ve made ourselves responsible with making sure we’re able to identify all the headstones of veterans that have been laid to rest that require a headstone of some sort,” Jose Lopez the supervising veteran service representative said.

Now the Kern County Veteran Service Department is working to get that crucial information.

“We’re gathering evidence and documentation necessary to get those headstones from the VA,” Lopez said.

The group of veterans spearheading the project to get the headstones told 17News because of the pandemic the speed at which files and information is collected from different agencies has slowed down the process tremendously.

As of now they’re on track to get about one headstone a year but they said they hope things will be moving much quicker as we get out of the pandemic.

Another note is Greenlawn Cemetery will have all the fees waived for placing and maintaining the headstones.

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