In a world that feels pretty hostile at the moment, it’s hard to stay positive and remember that kindness still exists. At the Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetary on the 9th of November, a whole community and many American vets stepped up to support a military veteran who had passed away.
Marine Corps Sgt. Leo Stokley, a Vietnam veteran had passed away at the age of 69. He had left behind no biological family members and so it was going to be a very empty funeral.
A local funeral director set up the burial arrangements for the veteran but he only expected small attendance, if any at all. However, two days before the service, Alan Desmond, the funeral director, started receiving countless phone calls from people who wished to attend Leo Stokley’s funeral.
Yesterday morning, everything changed. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, the emails and the texts haven’t stopped since then.
News of the unclaimed veteran had gone viral after the Facebook page ‘U.S. Army WTF moments‘ posted a call of attendance to their followers. They wanted to give this veteran a proper send-off and ensure that he would not be buried with no attendees.
As Friday rolled around, a huge crowd had turned up in support of the Vietnam veteran. Many of whom were military veterans themselves.
Amongst the attendants were three women who worked as Leo Stokley’s caregivers during his last few months of life
Tea Gray, Cay Cross, and Samantha Anderson consider themselves to be part of Stokley’s family and they were overwhelmed by how many people turned up to respect Leo.
Another person who was more than happy to attend was Nashville resident, Kay-Lynn Carew. She heard about the funeral from her daughter.
She knows I live here, I work here. She said can you show up, I said heck yeah I can show up.
That Friday, Carew also became an honorary member of Stokley’s family as well.
When you hear about a veteran, and nobody’s gonna be there, somebody’s gotta be there. Lots of people forget, there’s a lot of veterans that don’t have any families left. We’re all the family, we’re Americans, we’re the family.
Cay Cross said that Leo would have been so proud of all the people who came out to support him.
I can say we were his family; he became our family.
Don’t forget to watch the touching moment where hundreds of people turned up to veteran Leo Stokley’s funeral in the video below. Also, at Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section. 🐝