Dozens of Strangers Attend Funeral of Vietnam Veteran Who Died Without Family: ‘Our Hearts Are Always with Our Veterans’

A Vietnam War veteran who recently passed away without family and friends was honored in a special way by dozens of strangers in St. Louis.

Before 70-year-old Army veteran Glenn Cook died, he donated his belongings to Backstoppers — an organization that provides financial assistance to the families of emergency responders who lost their lives in the line of duty.

When the organization realized Cook died alone, they contacted Michael Funeral Homes.

Backstoppers and the funeral home had worked together before to lay to rest a veteran without family.

The day before the funeral, Michael Funeral Home posted a reminder on Facebook for those in the community who were interested in attending. The post noted at the end, “No veteran should be laid to rest with no one in attendance.”

As Cook was laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on Tuesday, dozens of strangers from all different walks of life showed up to pay their respects to the Army veteran, KSDK reported.

Cook received full military honors at the funeral, which included a gun salute and a motorcycle escort from members of the Patriot Guard, Fox 2 reported.

Dan Ranier, a board member of Backstoppers, was amazed by how many people showed up to honor Cook.

“It’s unbelievable. We thought there’d be five or six of us here today. But that’s St. Louis,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Mickey Terry brought her grandson to the funeral to make sure he understood the sacrifices that veterans have made for the nation, told KSDK.

“I love the veterans. They served this country,” Terry told KSDK. “We are only able to do what we do now because of them.”

Calvin “Mort” Whittaker, a co-owner of the funeral home and member of AMVETS Post 6, noted the significance of ensuring a veteran has a proper funeral because of how much they have sacrificed.

“Our hearts are always with our veterans,” Whittaker said. “Whether they are fighting for our country or we are laying them to rest. We feel they’ve given so much of their lives, this is just a small thank you for them. They shouldn’t be left alone at the end of their life.”

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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