Last week, hundreds of people gathered in Shrub Oak, New York to attend the funeral of Robert Graham, a 97-year-old veteran who served in the Pacific as a Marine Raider during World War II. The attendees came from all across the state, many were veterans themselves, and few if any of them had ever met Graham.
But they came just the same because they heard he wouldn't have any family at his funeral, a local CBS news affiliate reported.
Graham died April 12 at Yorktown Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Yorktown reports the Associated Press. Graham's wife of 60 years, Rosie, passed away two years ago, and with no close relatives, and few friends from his Marine days left, Graham's passing may have gone unnoticed, if not for the efforts of Beth Regan.
"I was afraid the funeral was not going to be well attended," Regan, who volunteers at the nursing home where Graham lived, told CBS. "I thought there would only be a handful of people there."
When Graham passed away, she took to social media and asked for people to attend his funeral, telling CBS that she "thought there would only be a handful of people there."
Word quickly traveled and when Graham was laid to rest on April 26, his funeral included a police motorcade, an escort, and more than 200 military veterans, police, and firefighters from across the state in attendance.
According to the Associated Press, Graham fought at Guadalcanal and Bougainville as a member of the Corps' elite Marine Raiders, and earned both the Silver and Bronze star medals for his service in the Pacific. After the war, Graham returned to New York, and worked as a corrections officer.
"I just wanted to make sure people would attend," Regan told the Associated Press. "He'd be floored. He wouldn't understand why so many people are out there celebrating him."
The casket of Marine Private First Class Robert Graham is carried into St.Elizabeth Ann Seton Church by members of the New York City Police Department on Friday, April 26, 2019 in Shrub Oak, NY. (AP Photo/Allyse Pulliam)
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran atIron Mountain. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Iron Mountain is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Jackie Melendrez couldn't be prouder of her husband, her sons, and the fact that she works for the trucking company Iron Mountain. This regional router has been a Mountaineer since 2017, and says the support she receives as a military spouse and mother is unparalleled.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 40-foot-tall (12 meters) cross-shaped war memorial standing on public land in Maryland does not constitute government endorsement of religion, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in a decision that leaves unanswered questions about the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state.
The justices were divided on many of the legal issues but the vote was 7-2 to overturn a lower court ruling that had declared the so-called Peace Cross in Bladensburg unconstitutional in a legal challenge mounted by the American Humanist Association, a group that advocates for secular governance. The concrete cross was erected in 1925 as a memorial to troops killed in World War One.
The ruling made it clear that a long-standing monument in the shape of a Christian cross on public land was permissible but the justices were divided over whether other types of religious displays and symbols on government property would be allowed. Those issues are likely to come before the court in future cases.