After an 80-year-old veteran’s obituary went viral, over 2,000 strangers attended his funeral to ensure the man received the respect he deserved for his service to our country.
Edward K. Pearson died on Aug. 31 in Naples, Florida. He was an Army veteran, but not many people knew much else about his life.
One line in his short obituary, however, prompted thousands of people to come to his funeral: “This Veteran has no immediate family all are welcome to attend.”
Michael Whyte, the funeral director who posted the veteran’s obituary, told CTV News that he opened the invitation to the public because he believed no “veteran should be forgotten.”
“He didn’t have any family,” Whyte continued. “If his brothers and sisters that served in military wanted to present themselves to pay tribute, that would be a good thing to do.”
Whyte said he was expecting at least 200 veterans, but there’s no way he could’ve anticipated the overwhelming response to his public call.
The Tuesday afternoon service, which ultimately drew over 2,000 attendees, featured military funeral honors like the playing of “Taps” and an American flag-folding presentation.
Among the crowd was a group of Sarasota police officers.
“We were honored to be among the hundreds of people at the Sarasota National Cemetery to pay final respects for #EdwardPearson, a @USArmy Veteran who passed away August 31st,” the police department tweeted.
“He sacrificed for our country & we’ll never forget him. Thank you for your service, sir. Rest easy.”
We were honored to be among the hundreds of people at the Sarasota National Cemetery to pay final respects for #EdwardPearson, a @USArmy Veteran who passed away August 31st. He sacrificed for our country & we’ll never forget him. Thank you for your service, sir. Rest easy. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/fH6ER4WKNB
— SarasotaPD (@SarasotaPD) October 1, 2019
Patty Thrasher met Pearson only a few years before his death after Hurricane Irma destroyed the roof of the mobile home he had been living in.
She told The Associated Press that the veteran would have been shocked by how many people came to his service.
“I think he would have just totally been in tears,” she said. “He’s looking down and probably crying his heart out.”
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