SARASOTA, Fla. — The funeral for U.S. Army veteran Edward K. Pearson backed up traffic for more than five miles.
- Edward K. Pearson remembered at Tuesday service
- He had no family in area; so community was invited to attend
- His three-line obituaty went viral
- PREVIOUS: Service for Naples Veteran Without Family in Area
The venue was changed to the largest stage that Sarasota National Cemetery had in order to accommodate the hundreds of people who told organizers they wanted to come.
It even started 30 minutes late, because the funeral director couldn't navigate around so many cars.
Most people who attended say it was a huge success. It was the goodbye that every veteran deserves.
The 80-year-old Naples man died on August 31. His obituary was short, ending with the words, "This veteran has no immediately family all are welcome to attend."
The three-line obituary went viral and by Monday, hundreds of people had pledged on social media that they would attend.
Officials at Sarasota National Cemetery say that well over 1,500 people showed up. Only a handful knew Pearson personally.
The war veteran didn't have any family in attendance, so U.S. Navy veteran Jay Hatcher accepted the ceremonial flag on their behalf. He was still holding onto it, in the exact same position, two hours after the ceremony ended.
"I'm sorry I didn't meet him, but we'll all meet one another at some point," he said through tears.