Veterans' Day is a time to honor our veterans. And today, this is exactly what happened.
Harold Jellicoe "Coe" Percival, who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, passed away at the end of last month, without anyone in his life to pay proper respects. His obit read as follows:
Harold died peacefully in Alistre Lodge Nursing Home on 25th October, 2013, aged 99 years. A single man, he has no close family who can attend his funeral. Served in RAF Bomber Command as ground crew during World War Two. Any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated. Service and cremation at Lytham Park Crematorium at 11am on Monday, 11th November, 2013.
Twitter picked up on the obituary (one user tweeted the obit and wrote, "So sad .... I do hope someone can attend") and then it spread online to Facebook, Reddit and beyond.
Sgt. Rick Clement, a vet who served in Afghanistan and who lost both of his legs in an explosion in 2010, caught wind of the obituary and furthered the call for help, writing on his Facebook, "I need a big favour from any military or ex-serving members. This fallen soldier at 99-years-old is having a funeral on Monday and he has no family to attend."
Sgt. Clement continued, "If you're in the area give him the send off he deserves. This guy needs and deserves your help." His plea was then picked up by The Blackpool Gazette, the local paper in North West England.
And his call for help did not go unanswered.
This morning, hundreds of people—servicemen and women and civilians alike—turned up at the service to pay their respects, even standing outside in the rain when the church was at capacity.
Some have even left crosses and flowers for a man they never knew. Harold Percival's funeral in Lytham. pic.twitter.com/seyLa0hYje? Danny Savage (@dannysavage) November 11, 2013