Hundreds attend funeral service for three veterans without a family
SARASOTA - "Every veteran needs to have military honors for their burial,” said John Rosentrater.
Rosentrater, Sarasota National Cemetery Director, says Army veteran Charles White, Navy veteran Robert Caples, and Air Force veteran Philip Atwood are the three veterans laid to rest Wednesday morning.
Rosentrater says they try to honor those veterans with no family with a funeral service open to the public every Wednesday. "Oh we’re very happy, so as we have had these types of ceremonies for years we have had this kind of community effort to come out,” he said.
More than 150 people paid their respect including Donald Neuberger a member of the Knights of Columbus. He says he’s made a tradition of attending every funeral service he can for fallen veteran with no family or friends to do his part and help pay tribute.
“It’s an honor for me to be able to honor these men that have served our country,” said Neuberger.
Neuberger says he never enlisted in the army himself but respects the sacrifice these men and women make to protect this country. They made our country free, they protected our freedom, he said. "I’m just happy that we can support them and we can show up and let them know they didn’t die alone.”
Neuberger says he has seen an increase in community support and hopes more people continue to come out and honor these fallen heroes. "I just do think that the support from the community is growing and I hope it continues to grow," said Neuberger. "These men and women deserve it.”
Neuberger was one of them men that received one of the ceremonial flags that is presented to an honorary next of kin when family is not present at the service.