Military Cemetery Pays Respects to Vets Without Family - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Military Cemetery Pays Respects to Vets Without Family

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When George Kendell was laid to rest Wednesday, his eulogy provided a glimpse of what the 64 year-old former Army MP liked to do.

"George enjoyed hunting, fishing, coaching, little league and travel, he was an avid OU fan," said the minister.

There were no shortage of relatives on hand; the youngest ones no doubt, blissfully unaware of what was even happening, but proudly ranking amongst the counted in his legacy.

"His 14 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, other family members along with friends and acquaintances," said the minister.

When the rifles sounded, there were tears and remembrance, and recognition that here was a life that was lived. It's how you'd hope everyone should go out, but sometimes when old soldiers die, they fade away in silence.

"You know there's people in this world that don't have any family," said Blue Star Mother Billie Walker, one of several folks filling the pews today to pay tribute to over a dozen vets who were recently laid to rest without a soul in attendance at their burial.

"When strangers become family," said the minister.

That was the theme from the pastor, who likened each and every person there to a Samaritan.

"You don't know about their life, you don't know how they began, you don't know, and neither did the Samaritan," he said.

David Simmons, Warren Jefferson, Vernon Horry, and Clifford Armstrong all served in Vietnam.

"We're remembering these fellow veterans that stepped up to the plate for us, and for at one point in their lives, did something for this country," he said.

Edwin McMillion, Charles Jansen, and Lucineal Hedges served in World War II.

"If it was my son or daughter I would want somebody to honor them," said Walker.

Willie Stanley was in Korea. Solitary names etched in stone, that today had families as large as George Kendell's, with as much love as anyone deserves when it's time to say goodbye.

"We have what Jesus said is what we should have, compassion, and so, this is a wonderful thing," said the minister.

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