2,000-plus turn up at funeral of Florida veteran with no kin

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS A motorcycle group carries American flags during an open funeral service for U.S. Army veteran Edward K. Pearson today at the Sarasota National Cemetary in Sarasota, Fla. Pearson has no family so his funeral home sent out a request on social media for the public to attend the service.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A motorcycle group carries American flags during an open funeral service for U.S. Army veteran Edward K. Pearson today at the Sarasota National Cemetary in Sarasota, Fla. Pearson has no family so his funeral home sent out a request on social media for the public to attend the service.

SARASOTA, Fla. >> More than 2,000 people have turned out in the Florida heat for the funeral of Edward Pearson.

Most of those who showed up today didn’t know the 80-year-old Army veteran from Naples, Florida. But his obituary went viral when the funeral director included this sentence in the service announcement: This veteran has no immediate family and all are welcome to attend. CNN host Jake Tapper and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted the information.

Among those who came were veteran Willie Bowman, a 62-year-old Army veteran. He says he couldn’t imagine not attending.

“You know what? There’s no way I’m going to let him do this alone,” Bowman said. “I’ve never met the man. But he’s a veteran and he’s a brother of mine.”

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