Veterans honored during their final sacrifice

Published 6:25 pm Thursday, October 19, 2023

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It was a solemn moment to honor those who served. During a special military funeral ceremony held at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery at 5310 Milners Road, loved ones and officials came together to honor 21 Virginia veterans and one military spouse who each made one last sacrifice for their country. In their passing, each individual donated their cremated remains to medical science to help researchers study the human anatomy with their research and to provide future cures and treatments. While honoring these individuals during her speech, Tiffany Lavoun of Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery explained the details of their contribution.

“Not only did they serve in our United States Military, but they went a step further and donated their bodies to science through the Virginia State Anatomical Program,” she said. “Established in 1919, the Virginia Anatomical Program is the only program in Virginia authorized to receive donations of human bodies for scientific study. The program’s primary mission is to educate health professionals by providing human donations for teaching anatomy, surgery, and medical research to the state’s medical schools, colleges, universities, and research facilities.”

During his speech, Commissioner Daniel Gade of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services thanked the veterans at rest for their final contribution.

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“Today, we mourn the passing of these honored veterans, but we also celebrate their final act of service to our country and to our community,” Gade said. “They will diagnose and cure disease, deliver pain relief, repair trauma and maybe even deliver a few babies. So, to those we honor today, I say thank you. Thank you for our freedoms, thank you for your sacrifices in war, and thank you for sacrifice after death.”

Following the funeral ceremony, Gade talked about the magnitude of the veterans’ donations and how they will impact scientists’ work in the future.

“These people’s sacrifice after their death will resonate in life for the next two generations as those physicians that they help train are healing and curing and solving trauma and doing all the things that physicians do,” Gade said. “It’s a really special sacrifice that they made, and so it’s our pleasure to honor them today.”

He continued.

“Veterans have a history of sacrifice. Veterans have sacrificed during their service, and now these veterans sacrificed after their deaths to help continue to provide for their families or to continue to build something for the next generation I think that exemplifies the veteran experience, and it was our pleasure to honor them today.”