When No One Else Would, 6 High Schoolers Carry WW2 Vet's Casket. Coach Perfectly Explains The Reason
Marilyn Caylor 10/11/2017
Many veterans who honorably serve in the military have certainly earned a spot in a VA national cemetery when they leave this earthly realm. If they're lucky, they might get an honor guard, playing of taps, and a folded flag handed to their next of next. But, sometimes our dearly departed vets slip under the radar, and there's no one around to give them one last well-deserved "hooah" at the end of their journey.
Such is the case for one Montgomery, Louisiana WWII soldier who survived both the Omaha Beach and D-Day invasions. Despite his impeccable military record, the 93-year-old didn't get much fanfare after he passed away in a nursing home. He never married, didn't bear any children, and he managed to outlive all 11 of his siblings.
While many of us dream of living to be a ripe old age, not having friends or family around when it's time to meet your maker can actually present a bit of a problem. Since the Army vet had no living male relatives left who could carry the casket, the funeral director had to make a brash decision. That's when he decided to "tackle" the problem head-on.
Thomas Edgar Hunter passed away after serving the country in World War II. At his funeral, Thomas was going to be buried with no pallbearers to carry the casket. Then, six boys stepped up and made everyone proud. Southern Funeral Homes director Bryan Price spread this inspiring story on Facebook, so that everyone would know what these fine young men were up to:
"With no one to serve as pallbearers six young men from the Tiger Football Team at Winnfield Sr. High School graciously volunteered to serve as pallbearers."
Thomas had nieces who were more than willing to give their beloved uncle a proper send-off at a private cemetery near his home. However, the women weren't physically capable of carrying a very heavy casket. That's when Bryan decided to reach out to local high school football coach, Lyn Bankston.
Bryan asked Coach Bankston if any of his players would be willing to carry the WWII vet's casket with the dignity he deserved. Of course, when the football team heard Thomas' story, they practically tackled each other in an attempt to be one of the six boys who would be chosen for the privilege! These teenagers, whom the WWII vet never even met, honored Thomas' enormous contribution to our country when they volunteered to become his pallbearers. Coach Bankston told The Town Talk:
"The kids asked if it was appropriate for them to wear their jerseys, and I said absolutely it was, because you and this program stand for exactly what Mr. Hunter stood for when he was serving this country."
Justin Lawson, Brett Jurek, Matthew Harrell, Lee Estay, T. J. Homan, and Christian Evans are all fine, upstanding young men who are well on their way to becoming amazing adults. Harold Evans, father to Christian, mentioned that all the boys were very moved by being able to serve as pallbearers.
Facebook/Love What Matters
Military honors were conducted by the U.S. Army, and there were also Patriot Guard members present, who quietly escorted Thomas to his final resting place. These football player's heartwarming actions were even mentioned by U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham in his C-SPAN House speech:
"They didn't know this man, but they knew that every veteran deserves to die with dignity and be honored for the sacrifices he made in defense of this nation. I think the actions of these young men speak volumes about what's truly important - country, community, family, God."
Despite what we may sometimes think, the younger generation isn't comprised of only rebels and miscreants. For the most part, young adults are exactly like you and me - they're people who truly care about the well-being of others, including those who are only with us in spirit.
Facebook/Love What Matters