It is a tragedy when a veteran is left to fend for themselves after serving their nation. Homelessness among vets is not a problem unique to the US, however.
Even England, with its fine traditions of public housing, national healthcare, and reserved respect for its service members, has a significant problem with homelessness among its retired military.
We just found a story from Liverpool, England about a funeral for one special vet, and how hundreds of people showed up to honor his life and service. You are going to love this story when you watch the video clip.
Fifty Eight year old Steven McGrath of Liverpool, England was laid to rest recently at Anfield Crematorium.
Estranged from his family, he died from cancer while living on the streets.
A former mate of Steve’s from his days in the British Army, Chris Bridson, decided to reach out to the public in honoring “a well humoured man” who had a “gentleman-like character.”
Bridson posted his appeal to Facebook, and the story touched many hundreds of people.
At the memorial service, the classic Neil Diamond song “Sweet Caroline” played as hundreds of people were seated. Attendees to the service included members of Whitechapel Centre, fellow veterans, and members of the public.
During the last two years of his life steve had lived in a shelter called Mildmay House in downtown Liverpool.
A staffer at the center said “Steve rarely talked about his life before arriving at Mildmay but talked fondly of the ‘Kingos’, the King’s Regiment, with whom he had served, and how much they meant to him.
He never complained and even when asked if he was in any pain from his cancer, always answered the same: ‘It is mediocre’.”
I Get My Vegetables From A Pill
Chris Bridson served with him in the King’s and spoke at the memorial. He said “Steve was a loveable man and his personality grew on you, even if he was a pain in the arse.”
A member of Whitechapel Center, Colm Sullivan, said “We have turned out to pay our respects today. Steve was comfortable in his last two years and was very well thought of. We are made up to see so many people turn out for him, he deserved it.”
At another point in the moving memorial, someone read the beloved Toby Dewick poem “Stand Down,” as fellow vets lowered their heads. The refrain “Rest your body, Close your eyes, As we weep the loss, When a good soldier dies,” resonated through the hall.
After the memorial, McGraths aunt, Carol, said the family was devastated to learn of his passing, but were deeply touched by the outpouring of love shown by the community at his service.
Since this story became public, people have taken to social media and the internet to share their thoughts, saying things like:
“RIP soldier !! , you’ve done the civilians of this country the most honourable service possible . LEST WE NEVER FORGET!”- Zod
“You have done your “stag”. Stand at ease, Stand easy. RIP.”- Deggsyr
“so glad there is good people who made his funeral a good one. true soldier. love and respect to the man. goodnight and god bless.”- Biggieee
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