As thousands gathered to pay their final respects to a man they’ve never met, Army Veteran Edward Pearson who had no living family to attend his funeral.
The message was clear… We Are All One Family!
The honor guard silently folded an American flag as members of the military, countless veterans and people from all over America came to honor Edward Pearson for his service and devotion to our country.
Some 4,000 people, most of whom never had the pleasure of meeting Edward Pearson in life, attended his funeral at Sarasota National Cemetery, where he was buried with full military honors.
Originally, only the funeral director of Legacy Options funeral home, Michael Hoyt, and another veteran were expected to attend Pearson’s funeral, who died at the age of 80 in Naples, Fla,
That changed when Hoyt posted a death announcement for Pearson online: “This Veteran has no immediate family all are welcome to attend.”
“We wanted to get the message out to the community to let people know that, to let them know they were welcome,” Hoyt told Tampa Bay’s Fox 13.
The post was shared thousands of times on social media, drawing people from all across the state, and the country.
“It just touched my heart. I just knew that I had to be here,” said Melanie Lynch, who drove an hour from Ruskin to the ceremony at Sarasota National Cemetery.
Ed Lyons III, a veteran and the assistant director of Sarasota National Cemetery, said that it was important to honor Pearson, who served in the Army from 1962 to 1964.
“It’s what we do. It’s what these veterans deserve. It’s what this veteran deserves,” Lyons said.
“It tugs at your heart because the things that veterans do for our country, what they sacrifice. You don’t want to think of anyone being alone or laid to rest without anyone being there to honor them,” said Lyons.