Watch CBS News

Homeless Veterans Laid To Rest At Cemetery Of The Alleghenies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A pair of veterans were laid to rest Tuesday at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

Normally, the veterans' family would flank the casket, saying their last goodbyes.

But these burials were different – and perhaps the first of their kind in the state.

Among the landscape of the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, veterans are memorialized. Their names etched in stone – a life of service, a lasting legacy.

Some veterans, when they're buried, are flanked by loved ones saying their final goodbyes.

But not Tuesday.

"Our heartfelt sympathies at the loss of our two brothers," was said at the funeral.

John Cassidy Jr. and Roscoe Johnson Jr., both of Fayette County, served their Homeland.

But eventually, ended up without a home.

When they passed away, there was no one to plan a funeral for them. That's when John Fabry stepped in.

"It's been a lot of people working together to make this happen," the Missing in America Program funeral director said.

Their burials were the direct result of something called the "Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012."

It was created so that deceased veterans, with no known next of kin, can receive the burial they deserve.

"The federal government will provide an urn or casket and transportation to the cemetery," Fabry said.

And so two men, whose legacy otherwise may have faded away, got a military funeral.

"It's sad when you come down here and bury them with no one, no family," one man said. "That's sad but there's a reward, but an amount of sadness."

The burials, though, are special. They could be the first of their kind in the state -- and possibly the nation.

"It's a bad day to be buried," said Vietnam Veteran Tom Pharr. "It's cold, but they're finally at peace."

More Local News

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.