Unclaimed veteran gets laid to rest surrounded by comrades

This is the first unclaimed veteran to be buried at the Fargo National Cemetary.

FARGO, N.D. – Veterans from across North Dakota gather at the Fargo National Cemetery to say goodbye to a fallen soldier.

Veteran Lelan Derr was born in New Hampton, Iowa in 1952. He served in the United States Air Force in Vietnam. Derr passed away in his Fargo apartment on December 10th of last year. He had been estranged from his family for many years.

“So, it turned out that we were able to find discharge papers eventually where they could bury him at a national cemetery,” Co-owner of Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home John Runsvold said.

“So, we picked a date that we could get it done and let a couple of people know that we had someone that had no family to be buried out here and I am so amazed by the community support,” Fargo National Cemetery Manager Nicole Guderjohn said.

“I was in Bosnia in 2003 and I was in Iraq in 2007,” Veteran Jim Graalum said.

“For Veterans it’s a brotherhood.It might be different ages, different wars, but there’s the brotherhood that other people don’t really understand,” Graalum says.

“Military burials are different from other burials. It has a different meaning. It brings emotion to an individual,” ¬†Graalum adds.

“No veteran should ever be buried alone. No one should ever be forgotten about,” Guderjohn says.

This is the first unclaimed veteran to be buried at the Fargo National Cemetery.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News