1,000 Show Up at Funeral to Honor Veteran in Indiana With No Family


More than 1,000 people showed up to the funeral of a veteran in Indiana who had no known family. (Credit: WTHR)

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More than 1,000 people attended the funeral on Tuesday of a veteran in Indiana who had no known living family members, according to multiple media reports.

Billy Aldridge, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, died at an Indianapolis nursing home last month at the age of 80, KTLA sister station WXIN reported. He had no family on record, so the facility contacted Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services.

In turn, they posted Aldridge's story on their Facebook page, asking the public -- especially veterans -- to help them give the man a dignified funeral, according to local station WTHR.

The response far exceeded expectations, with some 1,000 fellow veterans and complete strangers showing up at the funeral to honor Aldridge. According to military records, he spent time in Japan, and was later awarded a good conduct medal and honorably discharged, WXIN reported.

When the service concluded, many waited in a long line to pay their respects.

More than a hundred people also showed up afterward to the cemetery, where graveside prayers were followed by a 21-gun salute and "Taps," according to WTHR.

“This was just unbelievably wonderful,” Tim Elson, a Vietnam Veteran, told WXIN, “That the community would come together and remember a fellow veteran, not knowing him, not knowing anything about him.”

Organizers were touched and overwhelmed by the large turnout.

“I couldn’t be more proud today to be a Hoosier, just to see the average neighbor that's here to recognize this gentleman. It just shows that Hoosier hospitality is alive and well," said Eddie Beagles, the Vice President of Funeral Operations at Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services.

CNN contributed to this story. 

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