Strangers gathered at a veterans cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee, to pay their respects to a Navy veteran whose remains went unclaimed.
"We just know he was a veteran and that he's passed with no one here," Pete Thedford of the Patriot Guard Riders told WREG.
For citizens, it is a patriotic duty to pay respects to veterans who gave their lives to save the lives of the residents of the country. The veterans have fought for their country and deserve to be treated respectfully, even in death.
Navy veteran Robert L. Kemp had died earlier in the month at a hospital in Memphis. But authorities were unable to find any family members or next of kin. As a result, no funeral was planned for him.
To give Kemp a proper burial, a group of strangers stepped in to be his mourners and pallbearers.
"No veteran should be buried without a family, so we're the veteran's family," Thedford said.
Dozens of people filed into the chapel at the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery to remember Kemp’s life and his service. He was given a military funeral and his acts of heroism were honored. Many strangers turned up to show their gratitude for what he had done for them and for the nation.
"I love my country," said Sue Gianni through her tears. "I can't let someone not be here for him."
Everyone who had come to be a part of the memorial service sat somberly. They remained quiet as their eyes did the talking and tears ran down their faces.
Either on the battlefield or at home, no soldier should ever be left behind.
A similar case was that of a homeless British Army veteran who died. Hundreds of strangers showed up to pay their respects at his funeral.
Steve McGrath, who was a former King’s Regiment solider, and had served in Northern Ireland and also in Cyprus, was found dead in his hostel accommodations in Liverpool in January 2017 after having ended up on the streets following his seven years of service.
McGrath was a 56-year-old widower who was also homeless at the time of his death from cancer. He had no living family members, so best friend Chris Bridson, who served with McGrath in the King's Regiment, arranged the funeral.
Bridson feared McGrath's funeral would have no mourners and that no one would be there to honor the man's life. So, he made an appeal to the public on Facebook. He asked people to attend McGraths funeral and give the man the service he truly deserved.
After Bridson, who now works as a bus driver, rallied together their fellow veterans, McGrath was given a full military send-off at the Anfield Crematorium in Liverpool.
The legacies of Steve McGrath and Robert L. Kemp are eerily similar because although they did not have family to whom they were related to by blood, they had others who believed in what they had done for their nations and made sure to provide them a proper farewell.