Men and women of the armed forces are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice when called to duty, but 17 veterans were honored today for their service after death.
They chose to donate their bodies to medicine through the UNT Health Science Center's Willed Body program.
At Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on Thursday, full military honors were given to 17 veterans who served their country in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Then, they served in the field of medicine.
"It's an immeasurable gift that we have for the students," said Claudia Yellott, manager of the Willed Body Program.
The veterans decided before they died to donate their bodies to the UNTHSC program, which receives hundreds of donations a year from people who want their bodies to be used to teach the next generation of doctors and nurses.
"Each donation is a unique gift that benefits medicine and research and so the selfless act, not just from the donors but from their families themselves to carry out that request upon their death, is huge," said Yellott.
This ceremony signifies that their service to science is complete.
Their remains will stay at the cemetery.
Since no family members were in attendance, the staff at the UNTHSC becomes honorary next of kin as they goodbye and thank you to the men whose legacies will live on in the future of health care.
"As veterans, they gave up themselves for their country and then continuing to serve medical education is going to enable these doctors to go on and save lives," said Yellott.
This is the second military ceremony for veterans who've donated their bodies to the program.