Over 1,000 Attend Funeral for Veteran with No Family


U.S. Marine Corp veteran Billy C. Aldridge, 80, passed away at his nursing facility in Indianapolis, but the nurses could not find any records of family members. So over 1,000 people crammed into the Lawrence United Methodist Church to honor the veteran for his service.

Legacy Funeral Services reached out to fellow veterans to attend, but they did not expect “how large the outpouring would be.” Almost everything, including the casket, was donated.

“When we found out Mr. Aldridge was a veteran, we just felt we had to give him a proper and dignified burial,” said employee Eddie Beagles.

According to 13 WTHR Indianapolis  the executive director of the Indiana War Memorials delivered the eulogy, surrounded by veterans in uniform.

“No one should be buried alone and this man served our country and we just want to say thank you in some way,” explained Amy Kalsheur, who brought her six children.

Brig. Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin shared this information about Aldridge:

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.’

Goodwin went on to talk about what it means to be a hero. He said while searching online, he found several references to professional athletes and entertainers. He said a true hero was selfless, made sacrifices and put others first.

‘There’s a difference between entertainers and heroes and Cpl. Aldridge was a hero,’ Goodwin said, prompting loud applause.