Over 1,000 Strangers Attend Funeral to Honor Marine Vet With No Family

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He served our country and with gratitude he is honored in the end

The city of Indianapolis did themselves proud this past week when over 1000 people turned out for the funeral of an unclaimed veteran.  The overwhelming response to honor this man with no known family exemplifies the gratitude Americans feel toward those who serve.

The entire funeral was donated.  Generals attended.  Over 100 attended the graveside service.  He received full honors, a military 21 gun salute and taps.  Indiana stood strong for this veteran.  We are proud to salute all who honored Marine veteran Billy Aldridge.

Watch the video below and read about how this all came together.

 

Billy Aldridge would no doubt be overwhelmed at the number of people who attended his funeral Tuesday.

More than 1,000 people packed into the Lawrence United Methodist Church to honor a man no one knew but to whom everyone felt a connection.

Mitch Pendlum said, “it’s important for me because he was a Marine and all Marines are my family.”

Aldridge, 80, died at an Indianapolis nursing home last month with no known family or friends.

Tuesday he was surrounded by an entire community…

…The funeral home asked people, especially veterans, to attend. No one imagined how large the outpouring would be.

It included everyone from the executive director of the Indiana War Memorials, who gave the eulogy, to hundreds of veterans in full uniform, to those simply moved by the story of Billy Aldridge.

Leslie Archer drove in from northern Indiana “because my dad was a Navy vet. He’s passed now, so it’s my responsibility to (look out) for other vets.”

Chaplain Ron May said Aldridge’s decision to become a Marine said, “I will represent my country.  I will wear a uniform and I will if necessary, put myself in harm’s way.”

Brig. Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin shared information from Aldridge’s military records.

Goodwin said, “He served three years, 11 months and 29 days…following his (service) he moved to Indianapolis to care for his sick mother, who passed away January 1, 1997.”..

…More than 100 people joined the procession to Memorial Park Cemetery for graveside prayers, followed by a 21-gun salute and “Taps.”

Billy Aldridge would not be forgotten…

Source WTHR    Image Source

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