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I keep seeing posts about veterans not having any family or friends to attend their funerals. They post them with headlines saying, “Veteran being buried alone,” let’s show up and support. While I appreciate the gesture and intent here, I can’t help but wonder if folks actually think about this on a deeper level.
Allow me to explain…
If a veteran is being buried alone, that means he or she didn’t have any family or friends around while they were alive. This leads me to believe that perhaps this person may have been lonely in life. Which then begs the question, though the gesture is grand, what good does it do him or her for people to show up to the burial? Again, I understand the gesture, but it doesn’t help the veteran because they are dead and can’t know what’s happening.
Do you know what we can do that would actually help the veteran? Support him or her while they are actually here and alive. See, the veteran would then actually feel your love and see the gesture, enjoy the company, friendship, shared meals, or whatever it is that you will be providing them.
Showing up to the funeral, that’s a nice gesture, but I propose that you take action while they are still here and help them out then. I don’t know who you speak to about this, how you go about it, but perhaps the source of the solo burial is a good place to start? Find out where the vets are who end up in that situation and be a friend.
There was a man standing around talking to everyone, he was wearing a veteran’s hat, so I decided to engage him with my pup. We spoke for awhile and I thought I’d try to make contact with him. I asked him for an email, a phone number, something, but he didn’t provide anything. I thought this guy could use a friend, and I tried to make a connection so that we could keep in touch after we both left. It’s not on you how they respond, but at least try if you encounter one.
As noble as these burial gestures are, it is my belief that helping the living will be infinitely more beneficial.
Growing Up Bronx