ELWOOD, Ind. (AP) — Hundreds of veterans and other people who never met an 89-year-old Army veteran attended his funeral after central Indiana authorities were unable to track down any of the decorated veteran's relatives.
Veterans from as far away as Michigan joined high school students and local residents for Thursday's funeral services for George R. Green, a Korean War veteran who died on Dec. 5 of natural causes.
The street in front of the Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home was lined with American flags and a member of the Indiana Patriot Guard stood vigil outside as the overflow crowd gathered for the services in Elwood, about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
Pastor Rodney Ellis of First Missionary Baptist Church said that Green, a lifelong Elwood resident who had operated a venetian blind repair business, was awarded the Bronze Star medal four times during his wartime service that ended in 1953, The Herald Bulletin reported.
“He was a true patriot. He laid it all on the line to serve his country," Ellis said during the services.
Afterward, a long procession of vehicles made the trip from Elwood to the Marion National Cemetery for Green’s burial, with military rites that included a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.
The funeral home invited the public to Green's funeral after none of his relatives came forward and officials could not locate any family members. But Green wasn't alone, said Leon Richardson, a 20-year Army veteran from Greenfield who's a member of the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association.
“He had family. We’re all here today,” he said.
Jim Dawson, commander of the Elwood American Legion, said Green, who was born and died in the same house in Elwood, won a state championship while in high school for his singing and performed at many weddings.
“He was a quiet person,” he said.