A proper funeral

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

The loss of any loved one can be a trying time for a family. But the loss of a family member serving in the military can be especially difficult. And to know that a son or daughter has been killed in a war when no body is recovered is the worst scenario of all.

Thanks to the diligent and unrelenting efforts of the POW/MIA office at the Pentagon, one Southeast Missouri family has finally put to rest a family member whose remains were recovered from Vietnam.

Morris Waller, whose family lived in Portageville, Mo., in 1966, was 22 years old when he died in Vietnam. He was one of more than 2,500 soldiers whose remains could not be immediately recovered in that conflict.

Since then, thanks to better identification techniques including DNA testing, 734 of the missing have been identified, including Chief Master Sgt. Waller.

At last, members of his family and friends from high school were able to gather over the weekend for a proper funeral at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Bloomfield, Mo. The ceremony included full military rites.

The ongoing effort to identify more of the missing soldiers is tedious and painstaking work. But the families and friends of those yet to be identified await the day when they too will finally have closure on an important chapter of their lives.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the Waller family and our sincerest gratitude to those who continue to find and identify more of our fallen heroes.

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