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Hundreds Line Up In The Snow For Lonely WWII Veteran’s Funeral

Lawrence Police Department - Facebook

It’s a sad fact of life that some people pass away with no family left to mourn them. But for war veterans, this lonely end is especially tragic.

Which is why it was so endearing to see hundreds of strangers pay their respects to James McCue, 97,  at his funeral in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Thursday.

The state’s Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, retired Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Francisco Urena, shared an open invitation for community members to honor McCue earlier this week, after learning the WWII veteran had no one to mourn him.

Lonely veteran funeral
Around 500 people were in attendance as McCue was laid to rest with military honors.Lawrence, MA - Twitter

Around 500 people, including representatives from several veterans organizations, arrived to pay their respects to McCue despite the chilly weather.

McCue, who grew up in Lawrence, outlived his wife and family before his death earlier this month, according to his obituary.

Veteran Funeral
McCue served in five major battles, including the D-Day Invasion.Lawrence Police Department - Facebook

Urena called him a "highly decorated" veteran, who served in several major battles including in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, when McCue landed on Utah Beach. McCue had enlisted in the army when he was just 21, following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Veteran funeral
Veterans from the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq showed up to honor McCue.Lawrence Police Department - Facebook
Veteran funeral
McCue's wife died before he did, and he had no surviving family.Lawrence Police Department - Facebook

Attendees brought balloons and flowers Bellevue Cemetery for McCue, and lined up in the cold to sign a tribute wall in his honor.

Veterans from the Second World War and the Vietnam War traveled from near and far to be in attendance. Iraq War veterans were also in the crowd, including Army Sergeant Pete Rooney, who saluted McCue’s casket from his wheelchair.

Lawrence Police Department
McCue's casket was draped in a flag, he was given a rifle salute, and state police helicopters performed a fly-over.Lawrence Police Department - Facebook
Veteran funeral
Veterans and grateful strangers traveled from states over to honor McCue.Jim Morelli - Twitter

The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing even arranged for a helicopter fly-over of the ceremony.

One mourner told ABC News that he was a Vietnam veteran, and that his father had been a Second World War veteran. "I would hate to see my dad move on without anybody there," he said.

While he had no family left to remember him, McCue’s friends from the rest home where he spent his final days were on hand to say goodbye during the emotional ceremony.

The National World War II Museum estimates that over 300 veterans from the historic conflict die each day, and less than half a million are left alive today.

[H/T: ABC News, Boston Herald]

Rest in peace Army Veteran James McCue. We remember your sacrifice and honor your service.

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com