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Why Hundreds of Strangers Attended a Tennessee Veteran’s Funeral

A Tennessee community rallies to say goodbye to an unclaimed veteran.

via youtube screencapture, News Channel 5

Hundreds of mourners attended a funeral Monday for a man they did not know.

“We have an Unclaimed Veteran at Dickson Funeral home,” an employee of the Tennessee business wrote on Facebook earlier this month. The veteran, 66-year-old Ronnie Toler, had died in a central Tennessee medical facility in August. A search by the funeral home had turned up little about Toler’s background outside of his military service, and no one stepped forward to claim his remains.

The funeral home planned to donate burial supplies and hold a service for Toler anyway. Then its employee’s post went viral. The Patriot Guard Riders, a national organization of motorcycle enthusiasts dedicated to supporting the families of fallen military heroes, also got involved.

On Monday, hundreds of strangers responded, Scripps Media reports. Service members, veterans, and families lined the streets of Dickson as Toler’s body, accompanied by a motorcade, was transported to its final resting place. Toler was buried with full military honors.

“This is what is should be for every soldier we lose, whether it's a veteran or active duty,” Annette Robeck, who attended the funeral, said. “You don't ever leave a soldier behind.”

A local news station reports that the Patriot Guard Riders will transport the flag invovled in the service to Toler’s mother, who was eventually tracked to a nursing facility in California but was unable to travel to the burial.

(Via Huffington Post)

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