Connecticut veterans honored with military funeral decades later

Hartford

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — Four Connecticut veterans were laid to rest Thursday, finally given the military honors they earned long ago.

“While once forgotten, they are no longer forgotten because we gather here to remember them,” Thomas Saadi, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, said in the ceremony’s opening remarks.

These four veterans, whose remains remained unclaimed at funeral homes across the state, were laid to rest surrounded by their fellow soldiers and sailors in a ceremony at the state’s veterans cemetery in Middletown:

  • Melvin William Kaulfers, U.S. Navy/WWII, Aug. 17, 1926 – Nov. 30, 2016, who died in Collinsville.
  • Bertram Aulton Lascelles, U.S. Army/WWI, June 24, 1888 – Oct. 8, 1959, who died in Waterbury.
  • Edward Douglas Rudderow, MD, U.S. Army/WWI, Dec. 27, 1871 – Nov. 15, 1959, who died in Stamford.
  • Frederick William Walters, U.S. Army-9th Signal Corp./Spanish-American War, Jan. 25, 1874 – Nov. 25, 1955, who died in Waterbury.

“They have a bigger family which is all veterans, all of Connecticut and all of us who admire what they have done,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

“It’s just a wonderful ceremony and it’s about time we honor these vets,” said Army veteran Phil Cacciola.

The ceremony was a culmination of work by veterans affairs and the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association to give the state’s veterans a proper burial.

For funeral director Robyn Esposito, being part of the process meant a little more. 

“I’m a veteran, six years Army National Guard here in Connecticut,” she said. “I wanted to make sure they went home because they’ve been sitting in our office for quite some time now. It was nice to see them from start to finish get where they needed to be, and it’s nice they got the honors that they needed.”

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