When a World War II veteran died without any loved ones to lay him to rest, he was buried in a cardboard box -- a discovery that has incited Congress to ensure every service member gets a dignified funeral.
Lawrence Davis Jr. died alone in 2004 and was buried in a shallow grave -- with no casket –- at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FOX 13 / WTVT-TV reports. After cemetery workers made the shocking find, they contacted local government officials who are determined to prevent such a disgrace from happening again.
“That's what I put a pet in,” Rep. Rich Nugent told Ocala.com of Davis’ meager burial. “I don't think that's a fitting burial. That's a benefit that an individual has earned through his service to our country.”
Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are taking action by supporting the Dignified Burial of Veterans Act 2012, a bill that would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a casket or urn to vets without family and to those who can’t afford them.
Currently, the VA doesn’t have any concrete policies on how to handle deceased veterans who don’t have surviving family members.
In the interim, Davis is getting the proper burial he earned. Gene Whitfield, a Florida funeral home operator, donated a casket and a new memorial service is being planned in his honor, according to Nelson’s website.
"We're not going to treat the veterans of this country that way,” Nelson told FOX 13 / WTVT-TV. “We're going to ensure there is a dignified burial.”