JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On October 13, Mark Clark, an army veteran and Purple Heart recipient was buried in a small family cemetery near Georgia.
"He was too young. He was 51. We loved each other very much," said Cheryl Clark.
Clark, his wife of 25 years, said her husband retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years. She said he was proud to serve.
"He loved it. He went with the first Desert Storm to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait twice," she said ,"Spent that time and was wounded twice."
Clark said her husband died October 9 from an illness and she was disappointed when the funeral home tried to get a full military honor for her husband and it was declined.
"The funeral home did the proper procedures, called the U.S. Army, the national guard, Ft. Stewart, Gordon, Ft. Benning even," said Clark, "and they could not provide that service."
No military pallbearer, not taps, no 21-gun salute, the last recognition of a soldier's service to country.
The family appealed for help through social media and that opened the opportunity for for three World War II veterans to step up and help with the honors.
According to the Army Times newspaper, cuts in the federal budget have placed a strain on the Military Funeral Honor programs everywhere.
"Because of cutbacks to the military, there are not enough soldiers to give retired and active duty full military funerals," said Clark. "That's what I was told.
We checked the programs at Ft. Stewart, Georgia and the Florida National Guard. We were told that while there have been small budget cuts, there has been little or no impact on military funeral honors program.
When a veteran passes away, family members often expect a full military funeral. Clark and her daughter, who now wears her father's dog tags, say that is not what they received.
So what happened?
Anthony Plumey at Ft. Stewart said the Clarks' request was declined because Ft. Stewart did not have the resources; teams were already committed. Plumey said the request was forwarded to the Florida National Guard, but they had weekend drill.
Both branches said that while there have been small budget cuts their program has not been affected.
Plumey said it helps when they hear from a family directly and that family is flexible on its dates.
Here are the numbers to contact the branch casualty assistance office directly:
U.S. Army: 1-912-767-7255
U.S. Air Force: 1-299-257-4142
U.S. Navy: 1-904-542-4008 or 542-9807
U.S. Marine: 1-866-826-3628
First Coast News