My hubs, The Sarge, is a leader of the team that performs full-time Military Funeral Honors for the State of GA. He spends his days honoring our veterans who have served our country in times of war and times of peace. He leads a team of young men who are dedicated to giving these men and women the honor they deserve at the time of their passing. Their days generally consist of several funerals at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA and passing along final honors to family members who are grieving the loss of someone incredibly important to them.
On Wednesday, Sarge and his team performed a ceremony of a different kind. You see, there was a homeless gentlemen who had been found deceased on Christmas Day 2009. He lived in a wooded area near the metro Atlanta area. He was found by another homeless man who was checking in on his buddy because he had not seen him and was worried.
The county where the man's body was taken tried diligently for three months to find some family member to inform of the man's passing. They found no one.
The morgue knew the man's identity because of his good friend and had confirmed that the man was a veteran. They contacted the Georgia National Cemetery and asked if they could give the man a final resting place. GNC immediately agreed. They then asked Sarge and his team if they could give the man the final honors he had earned with his service to this great nation of ours. The Honor Guard immediately agreed.
So, Wednesday came and, worried that the man would have no mourners, they had some of the soldiers who were on duty at the Canton NG Armory there to honor this gentleman. At the time of the service, the homeless man who found and identified his friend came to the cemetery to mourn his friend. He was the one soul in this world who seemed to even know that this man was no longer with us. No one knows how the man got to the cemetery or how he was going to get back to where he normally camps. He stood in his jeans and flannel shirt as the Honor Guard carried out their mission. He wept silently for his friend as "Taps" was played on the bugle and the soldiers saluted his fallen friend. The soldiers presented the man with the folded flag, representing the gift of service his friend had given the United States. He said simply that he was proud to have had the opportunity to know his friend.
Yes, we have soldiers who fall in battle and are saluted by their communities. We have veterans who pass away and are mourned by those who knew and loved them. But, we also have veterans who are the "invisible" in our cities and towns. Veterans who have no family to even know they have passed. I cannot tell you how proud I am that my husband and his team are proud to give all veterans the honor and dignity they have earned upon their passing.
These men are my heroes. These men are heroes to us all.