Thousands of strangers attended the funeral of a 90-year-old Korean War veteran on Saturday after the funeral home turned to Facebook to invite the public.
U.S. Army veteran Hezekiah Perkins was honored by the public at Spring Grove Funeral Home in Cincinnati, Ohio after his only surviving family member, a daughter, was unable to attend due to ailing health, Fox News reported.
Reports suggested around 400 people showed up, but the funeral home said there were thousands of attendees, some of whom traveled hundreds of miles.
“Once I learned his daughter and other family members would not be able to attend – his daughter due to health issues – I just felt it was very fitting that this soldier receive long overdue honors,” said Lynay Straughn, the funeral director, the Daily Mail reported.
Spring Grove Funeral Home Director of Operations Skip Phelps said, “We had no idea what the response was going to be.”
Perkins received a full military processional that included hundreds of cars led by motorcycles, a bugle player playing TAPS, bagpipers playing “Amazing Grace,” and uniformed veterans.
Perkins had paid for all funeral and burial expenses ahead of time.
Thanks to Facetime, Perkins’ daughter was able to watch her father’s funeral service.
At the cemetery, Fort Knox soldiers performed a flag ceremony, the staff filled the role of pallbearers, and Straughn received the flag on behalf of the family, according to CNN.
The funeral home issued a statement, “We cannot express the feeling of patriotism and pride our Spring Grove Family feels today. We are humbled by the turnout and so very proud of our Spring Grove Family and especially our community. Thank you to everyone who helped share this story on Facebook and in the media.”
Around 100 veterans showed up in a motorcycle cavalcade which served as an escort for Perkins’ body.
One woman, Suzanne Koehne, drove around 100 miles to attend Saturday’s funeral. “It being Memorial Day weekend it was the right thing to do to come up and honor his life,” she said.
Kevin Moneace, of Hamilton, Ohio said, “My heart just told me you got to come and see this man off for serving his country.”
One couple drove in for the funeral all the way from Mississippi.
People were still arriving two hours after the conclusion of the service. “It was truly amazing. Cincinnati came out and showed their respect for their veterans,” Phelps added.