Vietnam War veteran Sgt. Leo Stokely passed away this week. Since he had no known family at the time of his passing to commemorate his life, he was to be given an “unclaimed veteran” funeral.
A call went out on Facebook with the details for the service.
The caption reads:
“*** Call for Attendance (Pegram, TN) ***
“WTF Nation, we have an unclaimed veteran being buried with no family. Leo Stokley, 69, of Murfreesboro, TN passed away on Sunday, November 4, 2018, at the Waters of Cheatham in Ashland City. Leo served his country in the United States Marine Corps and did a tour of duty in Vietnam. Leo will be buried with Military Honors on Friday, November 9, 2018, at the Middle Tennessee Veteran’s Cemetery in Nashville, TN at 10:00am. Please support so he is not buried alone.”
Word of Stokely’s funeral was originally put out by nurses who felt it wouldn’t be right for the memorial to be a small and lonely affair. The message spread rapidly. People heeded the call. The crowd grew and grew last Friday. People poured up the hill joining Tea Gray, Cay Cross, and Samantha Anderson, who were Stokely’s caregivers.
Gray stated to the local NBC News affiliate:
“A lot of people wouldn’t understand that he had nobody, but he had us. He had us.”
And Cross added:
“I can say we were his family. He became our family.”
People paid tribute to the late Marine.
Semper FI, Marine. We have the watch now.
— MARSOC (@MARSOCofficial) November 10, 2018
Semper Fi. Your watch has ended, we will take it from here.
— Justin Shifflett (@J_Shiff74) November 10, 2018
Stokely’s death came on the same weekend as Veteran’s Day.
People honored all who have served in our military.
Thinking about Veterans 2day on #VeteransDay & about all you’ve been through to serve our country. I hope & wish you all well & comfort, & if you are in any way still suffering from returning home for a variety of reasons I pray you’re receiving the love and care u deserve🇺🇸❤️🙏
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) November 13, 2018
— Mrs.Larson (@MrsLarson3) November 15, 2018
In addition to our annual #VeteransDay celebrations, I regularly honor the distinguished service of veterans in my district, as well as the legacy of heroes such as the Tuskegee Airmen – the 1st African-American military aviators in the U.S. Armed Forces. pic.twitter.com/iulJv95pIV
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) November 13, 2018
— ChrisYoungMusic (@ChrisYoung38pr) November 16, 2018
To our Veterans,
YOU are what makes this country great.
YOU Are what makes me proud.
YOU exemplify patriotism and service.
I’m so grateful for your strength and sacrifice.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 12, 2018
Democrats and Republicans came together to honor military veterans.
To all who have served and sacrificed for our freedoms—we salute you, today and every day.
— GOP (@GOP) November 11, 2018
Our nation has long taken pride in the brave Americans who serve selflessly in our armed forces. Today, Democrats are proud to honor our nation’s veterans & their families. We are especially grateful for those who have chosen to continue their service by running for office. pic.twitter.com/CgUKO3oZgV
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) November 11, 2018
We thank Sgt. Stokely for his service.