ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - On Friday afternoon, a crowd of 126 people made up of current and former military members as well as civilians were at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery to say goodbye to two veterans they’d never even met before.
U.S. Army Sgt. Silvio Vosilla and U.S. Navy SN Gerald Alan Husung were veterans of the Korean War who passed away in Alaska earlier this year. Between the two, there were no family members at the joint funeral.
However, that didn’t stop their ‘military family’ from being there as Don Jones with the American Legion puts it.
“It didn’t mean that they didn’t have family, they were just unable to get up here to Alaska,” he said, “and that happens more frequent than not. Especially with our older veterans. So we put out a call, unaccompanied veterans for the ceremony, and basically what that means is that we need military family to respond.”
So a good deal of military groups showed up. There were a lot of American Legion members in attendance, but there were also a good amount of active military from JBER there as well to show their respects.
According to the funeral home, Sgt. Vosilla has a son, but he was unable to make it up here. No one in SN Husung’s family could be located at all.
Since both these veterans were of different branches, the color guard was made up of two members of the Army and two of the Navy. With no family there, the colors were presented to the Director of the cemetery, Virginia Walker, who is a 15 year vet herself.
“We all serve with our brothers and sisters in arms, myself included,” she said, “We always have someone there. When it comes time to pass, we always have someone to remember our name, the way that we served, the way that we lived our lives.”
Now, Walker said the flag will be flown proudly on the Avenue of Flags come Memorial Day.
Additionally, she said that Vosilla and Husung have been added to a data base with information on their exact location in the cemetery. That way if any lost family members do want to come up, they’ll know where to go to say goodbye.