More than 1,000 show at funeral for Vietnam veteran in Michigan with no surviving family

More than 1,000 show at funeral for Vietnam veteran in Michigan with no surviving family. (Photo: WNDU)

NILES, Mich. - More than 1,000 people showed up at a military funeral in Michigan for a Vietnam veteran without any close surviving family members.

People from not only across the area but across the country arrived to honor Wayne Lee Wilson, who served in the United States Army from 1971 to 1977, during the Vietnam War.

He had made funeral arrangements at Brown Funeral Home in Niles, and after his passing, friends and neighbors worked with the funeral home to organize military honors for Wilson, WNDU reports.

Without any blood relatives to honor him, word spread on social media to make sure his funeral was well attended -- and it worked.

“He would be looking down with his head in hands saying, 'Oh my God, what did they do?'” said Wilson’s close friend, Charlotte Andrews to WNDU. “I only expected maybe even 12 people to show up… but this is hundreds. It's fantastic.”

“We found out that this particular veteran does not have any family; and as color guard, we honor every veteran,” said Petra Bernard of the Osceola American Legion Post 308. “Every veteran deserves to have their military rights, so we made sure that we came out here to pay our respects to this soldier.”

“It just shows that the community will step in and stand up and support a person that doesn't have anybody else,” Andrews said. “All I can say is thank you. That's all I can say.”

The full military honors were given by the U.S. Army and members of American Legion Post 51 of Buchanan.

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