Local officials and representatives of various faiths paid tribute to the lives of 1,780 people who died in Los Angeles County in 2018, but whose remains have never been claimed.
The multi-language prayer ceremony was held at a mass grave of ashes from the dead in the Los Angeles County Crematorium and Cemetery on Wednesday. Like last year, the event was streamed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
District head Janice Hahn noted that the tradition of burying the unclaimed dead with dignity dates back to 1896.
“We don’t know the life stories of the people we bury today, but we do know that many of them were homeless, some were children, others immigrants, almost all of them were poor and for one reason or another had no loved ones.” Who could claim it if it passed, ”said Hahn.
The county is trying to find the next of kin and waits three years from the year of death before burying the ashes to give family members time to come forward. Uncollected ashes from that year are then placed in a single grave with a marker.
“We know that they were loved by God. We know her life was important, ”said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Ministry of Health.