Edward Pearson passed away on August 31 at the age of 80 with no immediate surviving family. But after a Naples, Florida funeral director sent out an invitation to the public, hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects to the Army veteran as he was laid to rest at Sarasota National Cemetery on Tuesday.
The funeral director’s invitation went viral over the weekend.
Many veterans were in attendance to say goodbye to Pearson, who served his country from 1962 to 1964, Fox 13 reported.
More than 1,000 were in attendance. In fact, so many members of the public showed up they backed up traffic, delaying the service itself, according to Fox 13 reporter Kim Kuizon. People showed up hours before the send off was set to begin.
“I just felt the urge to. Everybody deserves to have somebody see them leave,” retired Army veteran Donald Johnson told Fox 13.
Michael Guy, a retired Army Ranger, said he felt a special sense of kinship with Pearson.
A small look at the crowd at Patriot Plaza. There’s easily more than a thousand people here. The service has been delayed. We are told traffic is backed up on Clark Road and the interstate @FOX13News #Sarasota pic.twitter.com/gyH1FLvPtt
— Kim Kuizon FOX 13 (@kkuizon) October 1, 2019
“I’m the last one in my family. I know how it feels when everyone you love is gone and passed away,” Guy told Fox 13. “Even your fallen buddies that you served with are gone and you wonder why are you still here.”