Community gathers for burial of unaccompanied veterans

MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Veterans, organizations and community members gathered at Mission today for an unaccompanied veteran’s burial for U.S. Navy veteran, rookie Mark Joseph Griffin.

Griffin was born in 1955 and served in the United States Navy from 1973 to 1975, according to the Texas General Land Office.

The Veterans Land Board has awarded military honors under the Unaccompanied Veterans Program.

The ceremony held at the Rio Grande Valley Veterans Cemetery was open to the community as Griffin did not have a close relative.

“Today we were honoring a deceased veteran and as far as we know he is unaccompanied, he had no relatives,” said Tony Cordova, veteran and commander of the Post Color Guard. 8788 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). .

Cordova joined other VFW members in military honors.

“Whether he has family or not, he is a veteran and he deserves the respect we can give him and for that reason we are here in full force,” he said.

Traditional military honors included a 21-gun salute, tap dancing, ceremonial folding, and presentation of the American flag.

Mission Deputy Fire Chief Robert Alvarez received the ceremonial flag during the ceremony.

“The family couldn’t be here. So to be here to represent the family at the ceremony was an honor to be able to do so,” Chief Alvarez said.

Alvarez said the moment was special, especially as a U.S. Navy veteran himself.

“Very honorable, humbling too. Not knowing Seaman Griffin, there was always a connection, just the fact that, serving for this country,” Jose Gonzalez, US Navy Ops Spec. 1st Class said.

Although Griffin doesn’t have a close relative, veteran Homer Gallegos said today was an exception.

“He is not alone here today. All of his brothers were here from every branch, I think were here, representing,” Gallegos said.