They Opened The Doors For A Veterans Funeral, And What They Saw Made their Hearts….
It’s a tragic truth that so many veterans are forgotten as they grow old, left alone after serving their country valiantly and often sacrificing a multitude of things in the process.
As a veteran of the Vietnam War, John T. Fitzmaurice has experienced this harsh reality first-hand. Fitzmaurice served in the U.S. Army only to become homeless later in life. He eventually passed away at the age of 68.
Fitzmaurice didn’t have many friends or family members who knew his whereabouts. In fact, there was no one present to mourn his passing. Nobody even claimed his body after his death.
Not many people were expected to attend his funeral. Until a group of high school students found out about it…Students from Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, found out about it, they decided the homeless veteran should receive the honor he deserved.
Not only did they take it upon themselves to attend Fitzmaurice’s funeral, but they carried his casket as well.
Students from the high school acted as Fitzmaurice’s pallbearers. There were plenty of other students that also attended to pay respects to the fallen veteran. The students who organized the event were proud to be able to serve a veteran. In lieu of having a family attend his funeral, it is nice to see honorable students filling in for Fitzmaurice.
Marcus Miller reported that around 40 people were present at the ceremony to pay honor and respect to Fitzmaurice.The all-boys school has started working closely with the Lawler & Crosby Funeral Home and the Lazarus Ministry.
Together, the partnership is designed to provide funerals for the homeless, the poor and those who die alone with no family.
“This is their first experience of being this close to a casket, and feeling the weight of this person, and realizing he was a human being like the rest of us and he deserved companionship”, Marcus Miller said.
Not only was the gesture an extremely compassionate thing to do with regard to the students, but hopefully it also allowed them to mature in a very unique way.
Peter Folan, the president of Memorial High School, was given the great honor of draping the flag across Fitzmaurice’s coffin.