Three flag-draped caskets were taken inside the chapel.
Three men who died this fall in Memphis.
They apparently didn’t know each other. They died on different days.
They had one thing in common.
They all died alone.
Their names are Charles Bradley Fox, 60-years-old. A Marine Veteran.
71-year-old Arnold Martin Klechka of the Army.
And 76-year-old Wesley Russell, also an Army Veteran.
Not much else is known about the three. They served their country and they were honorably discharged.
But people here were determined not to let this moment go by without showing them honor and respect.
“We do not forget our dead,” said Gary Taylor of the Memphis Funeral Home. “We honor them. We respect them. We cherish them.”
The Memphis Funeral Home handled all the details, They didn’t charge, they did it out of respect.
People came to say thanks.
A sea of grey hair was often poking out from the sides of hats here.
They have lived their lives, and with life comes understanding the significance of death.
Amelia Callicott’s husband was in the 82nd airborne of the Army before his death.
She said she had to be at the services, and started to cry. “I feel like they are just one of us, part of our family.”
Only someone who’s been in the military knows what it’s like to be in the military.
They are people who realize that coming home is often more difficult for veterans than serving overseas.
There are demons that many of these folks have dealt with over the years.
It’s why they want to make sure Fox, and Klechka, and Russell are remembered.
On a rainy Thursday morning, the notes of Taps drifted through the sky.
“From my perspective,” said Air Force Veteran Warren Harris, “… they were brothers. They didn’t have family. And although we didn’t know each other, we were out here to support them in their time of need.”
Three flags were folded.
They are normally given to family members of the deceased.
In this case, 200 people became family.
When somebody asked for family members to stand, everybody in attendance stood.
People weren’t prepared for so many to attend this service.
Gary Taylor of the Memphis Funeral Home said, “This is an amazing testimony to our citizens of Memphis and our community. I’m proud to be living here.”
They proved one thing that burned through the clouds of Thursday brighter than the sun.
Family never forgets.