Whether they call it Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, nations across the world honored their brave men and women in uniform Monday. While most of the day’s activities paid tribute to veterans in some abstract way, one nursing home in England was able to organize a very real gesture following the death of a 99-year-old World War II airman.
When Harold Percival died last month, he left behind no family. Worried no one would attend his funeral, the nursing home staff that had been taking care of him began looking to strangers for support.
After initially placing an advertisement in a local newspaper, the nursing home’s cause began to spread. When social media users started sharing the sentiment, the touching tribute reached a widespread audience.
Appropriately, Percival’s funeral was held on England’s Remembrance Day. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of his caretakers and the diligence of countless individuals who forwarded the invitation, he was far from alone during the memorial event.
Comprised of active-duty and retired military personnel, along with civilians wishing to pay their respects, hundreds of mourners showed up to honor the former soldier.
Rev. Alan Clark led the service, telling attendees they played a part in “surpassing anything that was expected.”
Illustrating what should be the motivation behind the holiday, Clark noted those in the crowd weren’t there “because you knew him, but because each of us has a common humanity.”
While it is easy to pay lip service in honoring the sacrifices made by our military, this touching gesture prompted a huge show of gratitude for the service of one veteran. The stories of bravery and heroism on battlefields across the world are limitless, though many of these soldiers take them to their grave.
Instead of waiting for the calendar to prompt us, we should regularly recognize and remember the military’s unique role in ensuring our freedom. Such selfless service deserves our thanks throughout the year.
–B. Christopher Agee
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