An improper burial at Florida National Cemetery has triggered national outrage and new plans in Washington.
Earlier his year, maintenance workers at Florida National Cemetery discovered a World War II veteran had been buried in a shallow grave in a cardboard box. They found the remains of army private Lawrence Davis Jr. when they removed his headstone for maintenance.
He died in 2004 at the age of 85, and had no living relatives to make his funeral arrangements.
The medical examiner sent his body to Florida National Cemetery in the cardboard box and that's how he was buried.
The discovery inspired a Florida funeral home manager to donate a casket. And the government reburied Davis on the eve of the Fourth of July with full military honors. Veterans and families across Tampa Bay attended the service.
"He's a veteran. He's my brother," said Willie Tully, who joined the memorial. "Everybody in the military is a brother and a sister."
Meanwhile, Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are sponsoring the Dignified Burial of Veterans Act of 2012. If passed, it would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to buy a casket or urn for any veteran who arrives at a national cemetery without one.
It would also press the agency to review its burial standards, to determine how many other military men and women may have been improperly buried.
"With this legislation… we are requiring them to go back and do a check and an inventory," said Senator Nelson.
He expects this bill to pass unanimously in the Senate. There is also strong support in the U.S. House. Congress could pass it within the next month.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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