Sept. 28, 2017
"When I picked that guy up, I had tears in my eyes. I was able to hold the cremains of a veteran of the Civil War, but I felt a great sense of sadness for all of the other unclaimed remains of people whose families hadn't come to get them." Jim Diamond
RETSIL -- More than 100 years after his death, a Civil War soldier was finally laid to rest with full military honors at the Washington Veterans Home at Retsil on Thursday.
Zachariah M. Stucker served as a musician and later as a private in the Union's 48th Illinois Infantry Regiment from 1861 to 1865. He was a resident at the veterans home from 1910 until his death in 1914 at the age of 69.
Stucker's remains were sent to Seattle for cremation after his death, but for unknown reasons they were never returned to Retsil. His remains sat in storage for decades until his name was discovered on a list of unclaimed remains at the Lake View Cemetery in Seattle by a volunteer with the Missing in America Project, which seeks to locate the unclaimed remains of veterans and provide burial services for them.
“What is really sad is that he has been missing for 103 years,” said Lourdes "Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, during the ceremony. “That is 103 Memorial Days where nobody put a flag by his headstone. That is countless holidays, Christmases, where he didn’t get a wreath on his grave. But now, that’s over.”
Civil War historian Jim Dimond went to the Seattle cemetery last weekend to recover Stucker's remains and bring them back to Retsil.
"When I picked that guy up, I had tears in my eyes," Dimond said. "I was able to hold the cremains of a veteran of the Civil War, but I felt a great sense of sadness for all of the other unclaimed remains of people whose families hadn't come to get them."
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