×
Over 2,000 People Show Up For The Funeral Of Army Veteran Who Had No Family To Bury Him

Over 2,000 People Show Up For The Funeral Of Army Veteran Who Had No Family To Bury Him

"I think he would have just totally been in tears,” said Patty Thrasher. “He’s looking down and probably crying his heart out."

Having no immediate family, Army veteran Edward Pearson died alone at the age of 80 years. But hundreds of kind strangers, who never met him and barely knew anything about him, came together to honor the veteran by attending his funeral service. The thronging crowd that came to see off Pearson ensured that he wouldn't be alone when he was being laid to rest.

Very few people knew the army veteran, but the ones who did will remember him for his kind smile. "He was a sweet old guy. Very nice. Very humble,” said Patricia Thrasher who knew the veteran, according to Naples Daily News. "No matter how upset he was, he always had a smile." After serving in the US Army from 1962 to 1964, the veteran was honorably discharged, as reported by Fox 13. Edward Pearson passed away on August 31.

When the Legacy Options Funeral Home posted his obituary, there was a small but straightforward message with it, "This veteran has no immediate family. All are welcome to attend."

"They were unable to get any family members and no one had come forward," the funeral director, Michael Hoyt told NBC News.



 

The message reached the corners of the country and people were determined to be there for the last rites of a man who fought for the country.

"I stayed awake all night long the first time I heard this on the news. I said, ‘That’s not right. That’s a shame.’ I made a vow to myself and said I will be there as a veteran myself. No comrade should ever be left behind. Never," said Bob who spoke during the service. "It broke my heart. And that he was going to be laid to rest with nobody around. To me, that’s not right. No veteran man or woman should ever have to have that happen to them."



 

62-year-old Willie Bowman, a Purple Heart recipient and an Army veteran himself, said, "There’s no way I’m going to let him do this alone. I’ve never met the man. But he’s a veteran and he’s a brother of mine," according to Army Times.

Within no time, Edward had a family of many as more than 2,000 people filled the Patriots Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery, to give the Naples resident one final salute on October 1, 2019.



 

With some waving the American flag and some carrying bouquets of white flowers, the large audience saw the veteran get a well-deserved farewell complete with full military honors. They even heard 'Amazing Grace' being played on the bagpipes and watched a flock of doves being released.



 

"Just look... just look around. This is a sure show of true human kindness and compassion," said Bob.

Funeral director Michael Hoyt hoped that people would attend the funeral but never expected that the veteran would be able to draw together the kind of crowd he saw that day.



 

"People on the highway were saluting, motorcycles were joining in as we made our way up from Naples to Sarasota. It was a little overwhelming," said the funeral director. When he talked about how Edward was brought to the cemetery, he said, "It was like the parting of the seas. The motorcycles went down the middle and everybody pulled to the side and we came through with the hearse and the urn."



 

"If Ed were here today, he would cry, he would laugh and he would salute," said April McCausland, who was a friend and neighbor to Edward and was glad he didn't have to be buried alone. "He was a wonderful man and he deserves everything that's happened for him today."



 

"I think he would have just totally been in tears,” said Patty Thrasher. “He’s looking down and probably crying his heart out."



 

References:
https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2019/10/01/naples-veteran-no-known-family-draws-crowd-funeral-service/3821316002/
http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/overflow-crowd-shows-up-to-honor-florida-veteran-who-died-alone
https://www.armytimes.com/veterans/2019/10/01/2000-plus-attend-funeral-of-florida-veteran-with-no-kin/
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-veteran-dies-without-family-claim-his-remains-so-hundreds-n1060936