Posted on March 05, 2014, 11:05 am
2 mins
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Sgt. 1st Class Scott R. Smith while deployed overseas. Photo courtesy of Garilynn Smith
The Montclarion

When Sergeant 1st Class Scott R. Smith was killed in 2006 in Iraq by an improvised explosive device, Garilynn Smith, the Sgt.’s widow and a current senior jurisprudence major at Montclair State University, was overwhelmed with grief, as any military widow would be. Gold Star families give the ultimate sacrifice and they are viewed with great respect and dignity.

But when Garilynn Smith started looking into what happened with her husband’s remains the next year, she was treated with anything but respect and dignity in the next 15-year process that unfolded.

When Smith finally got the answers she was looking for, what she found was truly shocking and abhorrent. After her husband was cremated, his partial remains were sent to a landfill in Virginia, grouped with medical waste.

The remains of soldiers who were killed in action must be dealt with respectfully. A Department of Defense directive even orders it. But that would suggest spreading ashes out at sea or Arlington National Cemetery or sending them back home with the next-of-kin if possible. But mixing American heroes along with trash is anything but respectful.

The memorial case for Sgt. 1st Class...
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