No Family Shows Up To Claim Veteran’s Body, So All of Nashville Attends Funeral

'We're Americans, we're the family.'


Whenever we hear of military men and veterans who served our country, we always feel deep respect and the need to bow in front of them, and make sure they understand how grateful we are for the sacrifice they make.

What happened last Wednesday, on November 9, is a proof of the love all Americans have for these brave people.

A war veteran, Marine Corps Sgt. Leo Stokley passed away at the age of 69, but he was living all by himself. He had no children or any other family members, so the funeral director didn’t expect a great number of people to attend it.

But, just two days before the service, the funeral company’s phone didn’t stop ringing. Many people were interested to attend it in order to honor Stokley.

It appeared that a Facebook group U.S. Army W.T.F! moments, posted a call for attendance, and wanted to make sure the hero was not alone, but surrounded with people who respect what he did for America.

“Yesterday morning, everything changed,” Funeral Director Alan Desmond told WKRN. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, the emails and the texts haven’t stopped since then.”

On the day of the funeral, Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery was crowded with people who came to say the final goodbye to the man who fought for our well-being, among which three women who had served as his caregivers during the last days of his life.

Tea Gray, Cay Cross, and Samantha Anderson loved Leo as though they were family. They were happy so many people attended their friend’s funeral.

“He was one of our sweet eaters who always wanted chocolate chess pie,” Gray told WSMV.

Nashville resident Kay-Lynn Carew was one of the people who was present. He said he heard about it from his daughter and felt the need to attend and honor the veteran.

“She knows I live here, I work here,” said Carew. “She said can you show up, I said heck yeah I can show up.”

“When you hear about a veteran, and nobody’s gonna be there, somebody’s gotta be there,” Carew said.

“Lots of people forget, there’s a lot of veterans that don’t have any families left. We’re all the family, we’re Americans, we’re the family.”

The women knew that Leo would have loved it to see how many people respected what he did.

“I can say we were his family,” said Gray. “He became our family.”

Rest in Peace Marine Corps Sgt. Leo Stokley, and thank you for your service.