Edward Pearson died on August 31. He was an 80-year-old veteran from Naples, Florida who had no known family members. Fearing he wouldn’t deserve the final farewell that he deserved a social worker approached Legacy Options Funeral and Cremation Services and asked for help.
“One of our ways of giving back to the community of Naples is we offer free funeral services to any indigent or homeless veterans,” funeral director Michael Hoyt told CNN.
While the news quickly spread online and many said they would attend, no one could be certain how many would show up on October 1, the day Pearson was to be laid to rest.
On October 1, hundreds of cars lined the road to Sarasota National Cemetery, where Pearson’s service was scheduled to take place.
It was a turnout no one could have predicted, then again it was hardly unbelievable that so many people showed up to pay respect to an American hero.
Pearson served in the United States Army from 1962 to 1964. Before he was honorably discharged in 1964, he reached the rank of private first class. After leaving the Army, he worked for Marriott Hotel Services Inc.
At his funeral on Tuesday, he received full military honors. He also received a hero’s farewell.
Some estimates suggest that several thousand showed up to pay their respects to Pearson.
The funeral, which did not follow a set program, featured those who knew Pearson and those who were there to support a fellow veteran.
For those who could not attend a live stream was provided.
Following the funeral, many took the opportunity to personally honor the veteran.
It makes me so happy that so many people showed up to honor a veteran.
I hope the same can happen for any other veteran in the same situation.
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