(Recently) I had the honor of participating in the memorial and burial service for seven World War II veterans that had no families to arrange their burials. I was first surprised by seeing the funeral chapel was full during the memorial service. Remembering that none of the mourners were related to these veterans, or even knew them, and this was during normal workday hours, this was a surprise. But then witnessing the funeral procession that followed was even more incredible. The procession was well over a mile long. As it passed through Roswell, Alpharetta and Woodstock up to the Georgia National Cemetery, the road was literally lined with many hundreds of people waving flags and saluting out of respect. This included numerous schoolchildren and all sorts of first responders.

Equally impressive was seeing so many cars on the opposite side of the streets, including I-575, stopping their cars in respect, with many standing outside in the cold weather saluting. The service that followed at the cemetery was equally well attended with everyone standing outside on a very cold and windy day — just to pay respects.

While these WWII vets may not have had an immediate family, they sure inherited a much bigger one today.

It certainly renews my faith in the pride of American people.

Thank you all who attended.

Ed Steudel



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