Marine who died alone to get proper funeral

Funeral services for Marine Billy C. Aldridge are being held at this hour in Indianapolis.

It’s a heart-warming story, not entirely unlike the one in St. Paul where people mobilized last March to provide a dignified going-away for a homeless veteran.

Aldridge, 80, wasn’t homeless when he died a month ago. But he was alone. He had no family and nobody stepped forward to make any funeral arrangements.

So a local funeral home took Aldridge and put the word out on its Facebook page.

“We would like to encourage the public, especially any veterans, to attend this service and pay their respects to Mr. Aldridge,” said Eddie Beagles, Vice-President of Funeral Operations for Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services. “In keeping with our company mission, giving this veteran who faithfully served his country a proper burial with military honors is the right thing to do.”

A casket company donated a casket. A cemetery found a plot. The police agreed to provide an escort.

And people? So many responded that they intended to attend this morning’s funeral, that the service was moved to a large church nearby.

Updates later.
Update 1:05 p.m.Over 1,000 people showed up.

More: Veteran with no family given a dignified burial (Indianapolis Star)