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Air Force Veteran Awaiting Burial at Arlington National Cemetery

OGDEN -- Born on the Fourth of July, Joseph Ludwig Sieger's family says he was as patriotic as they come. The main pillars of his life were family and military.

To that end, the U.S. Air Force veteran and Ogden resident's final wish was to be buried with his wife in Arlington National Cemetery -- a wish his family will be able to grant after he died on Christmas Day at age 84.

"We did it because it was his wish. He was a true patriot," Joseph Sieger, the Korean War veteran's son, said. "He visited there a lot when he lived in Washington D.C."

Sieger was born July 4, 1931, to a German couple that immigrated to the U.S. During his time in the military, he married his wife Wilhelmina and had three children.

"He was 100 percent all about family," the younger Joseph Sieger said. His military career kept them moving from place to place, but he always worried and cared about his children's well-being.

He was originally in radio maintenance, but he eventually became a computer analyst, working with some of the military's earliest computer systems. He then spent a lot of his career working at the Pentagon, a job that he couldn't disclose much about to his family, the younger Joseph Sieger said.

After Sieger's 26 years with the Air Force, the family settled down in Maryland, where he worked for the federal government. Much later in life, Sieger and his wife moved to St. George to be closer to his grown children, who moved lived in Utah. Then, shortly after his wife passed away in 2008, Sieger moved up to Ogden to be taken care of by his son's family.

"He loved playing cards and telling old stories of his time in the military," Ericka Sieger, his granddaughter, said. "He was always one to look his best all the time."

"He was a husband, a father and a fighter," his son, Eric Sieger, said. "The military was his life."

His grandson, William Sieger, will be following in his footsteps by joining the Air Force when he is of age.

The process for getting a veteran interned in Arlington is a "blizzard of paperwork," funeral councilor Mary Courney said.

Sieger's family passed the request on to Leavitt's Mortuary, which was able to get in touch with Arlington and make the arrangements.

After verifying Sieger's military record and honorable discharge, he and his wife were both approved to be transferred and interned at the cemetery alongside the hundreds of thousands of veterans at rest there.

Burial in Arlington is free of charge, but the costs of transporting veterans and their spouses are usually what make internments there difficult to do, Courney said. Sieger's family was determined to make it happen, though.

While the Siegers were approved for interment, they have been placed on a waiting list. Courney said the family will learn in about two weeks when their burial date will be.

The younger Joseph Sieger said they are hopeful the burial will take place in February or March.

In the meantime, the elder Joseph Sieger and Wilhelmina Sieger will be placed in Leavitt Mortuary's mausoleum until the time they can be transported to Arlington.

A brief service was held Monday, Jan. 4, for Joseph Sieger, which included military honors by the VFW Post 1481, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.

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