FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — For more than six decades, the Miaskiewicz sisters from Salem, Mass., have traveled to the Long Island National Cemetery at Pinelawn in Farmingdale to visit their brother’s grave.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story
Now, after all these years, the sisters — Theresa and Christine — have learned that their brother’s remains were in Bosnia, not on Long Island.
Cemetery director Roseann Santore told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera such a mistake by the government is unprecedented.
“This is the first time in my history and I’ve got 25 years,” she said.
“We have checks and balances that the right person, the veteran and his family members, are in the right grave,” Santore told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan, adding when asked whose remains are actually in the grave, “at this point we don’t really know.”
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports from the Long Island National Cemetery
Their brother, Staff Sgt. Meceslaus Miaskiewic, who they nicknamed “Mashie,” was killed during World War II when his plane went down on a hillside in the former Yugoslavia along the Adriatic coast in 1944.
“It’s hard to accept the fact that we didn’t have him here all that time,” Theresa told CBS Boston.
Earlier this week, the military confirmed Mashie’s remains had been found by Yugoslav locals in 1944. His body was buried at a grave site which had been maintained by villagers ever since.
Now Mashie’s remains, along with his American uniform, watch, rosary, and crucifix, will be brought to Massachusetts to be buried in the family plot in Salem.
Mashie was one of 11 children and his sisters say he was the best.
Have you ever heard of a mixup like this? Share your story in the comments section below!