Petty Officer Third Class James Miske died last month with no one by his side, but Friday at the Fort Jackson national cemetery hundreds of people acted as family and delivered a final salute.
James Miske was born December 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois. The Navy veteran died alone in Columbia, South Carolina on May 26, 2019.
On Friday, at the Fort Jackson National Cemetery, hundreds of strangers became family. Caughman-Harman Funeral Homes and Dunbar Funeral Homes held a special military service for Miske.
“Every veteran deserves to have his family with him in his final formation and we are here for his final formation,” said Tom Yeoman, a member of the Patriot Guard.
Travis Haymore with Rolling Thunder traveled from Charlotte for the service. “He’s a brother. He’s a fellow vet. It’s something that’s close to all of us. It doesn’t matter what branch.”
For some attendance at Miske’s funeral was personal. Sally Catoe attended as a way to honor her own family members who served in the military.
“I came here in support of my own father who was a World War II Navy vet.”
For others it was mandatory. Dee Dee Milakovich is the wife of a veteran and mother of an active service member.
“My husband is a Coast Guard veteran. I am a military child. My father was a retired Air Force vet. My son is in Arlington at Fort Myer so we felt it was the right thing to do for a veteran.”
Petty Officer Third Class James Miske may have died alone, but he will now be laid to eternal rest next to his brothers and sisters.
More than 6000 men and women are buried at Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
This was the 6th unclaimed veteran funeral the Homeless Veterans Burial Program has held since it started last July.