War Veteran Dies Alone, Community Steps Up

Thanksgiving is the time of year to be thankful for those around you: friends, family, and loved ones.  Often this sentiment gets lost amongst the piles of turkey, hours of football, and colorful parade floats.  Unfortunately, not everyone has a loving family to spend their holidays with.  Last month, we were reminded that family can be defined by more than just blood.

Harold Jellicoe Percival, a veteran of the RAF Bomber Command in WWII, died last month at the age of 99.  According to his obituary in the local newspaper, Harold was a single man and had no close family who could attend his funeral.  The newspaper also asked any service personnel in the area to attend Harold’s funeral in place of his family.  Harold’s story got a boost when Sgt. Rick Clement, who was badly injured in Afghanistan, took to Facebook begging other servicemen to attend the service.

“I need a big favor from any military or ex-serving members.  This fallen soldier at 99-years-old is having a funeral on Monday and he has no family to attend,” said Clement who lost both arms in an explosion in 2010.  “If you’re in the area give him the send off he deserves.”

When Monday rolled around, something amazing happened: hundreds of civilians and service personnel showed up to send Harold off.  The Lytham Park Crematorium expected a few dozen people but was surprised to see more than 300 mourners waiting in the rain to pay their final respects.  These pictures speak volumes to the good faith of people all around the world; watch the local news report here.

Farewell, Harold. Thank you for your service.

This Thanksgiving, look around the dinner table and be thankful for what you have; remember there are people out there who are less fortunate than yourself!

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