A 74-year-old Vietnam War-era veteran who died in Marion, Indiana may have not had his remains claimed, but a group of strangers banded together to make sure his service to our country was not forgotten.
According to Task & Purpose, James Douglas Beavers was an orphan who never married or had children, but he dedicated his life to to the Army, first as a specialist and later as a member of the Reserves. He served much of his Cold War career in Berlin. He died in obscurity and was not found until five days after his death by a neighbor.
But a coroner's office ran information about his death on social media and in the local newspapers, hoping someone would come forward to claim Beavers' body and make funeral arrangements. No one ever did.
That's when David McComb, president of the funeral home, stepped up to honor this service member with a proper burial and military ceremony. The community responded, and 1,200 service members, law enforcement officials, veterans, and vet organization members came to pay their respects to a complete stranger.
Attendee Jeff Keeling commented, “I don’t think it matters if you’re a new or old veteran. We need to get behind our military. I don’t care what age; we need to show we care.”
The ceremony included a playing of "Taps" and a three-round volley salute.
Retired Air Force master sergeant Jimmy Urban said, “Maybe he carried around old wounds. A lot of those ghosts stay with you. Maybe he lost touch with old friends. Maybe he carried around a lot of pain and hurt from life. All we want is the respect of the American people. He shouldn’t have died alone like this. He deserved more respect than that. He’s not alone, and we’re not strangers. Anybody that served is a brother. He’s not alone anymore.”