Strangers honor the life of an unknown Vietnam veteran at Fort Gibson National Cemetery

FORT GIBSON, Okla. — Strangers honored a Vietnam veteran while he was laid to rest in Fort Gibson National Cemetery Wednesday morning. When family or friends can’t be found for a veteran, the cemetery ensures a military funeral is given.

David Van Meter is the Director at the cemetery, and he says they recently discovered veteran Leonard Lowe Waggoner, or Lynn, was unclaimed. He was a U.S. Army Veteran Specialist and a member of the Muscogee Nation.

The cemetery honored him before he was laid to rest, with a gun salute and flag folding. They say, “when a veteran doesn’t have a family to claim them, we become their family.”

Van Meter adds, “All the local veterans stop what they’re doing, and they come out to these services because it’s important.”

There was a special surprise at this memorial service. One of Waggoner’s cousins heard about his passing during a meeting earlier in the week, so she came out to his funeral. She says the family lost track of him recently, but they did love him. She was grateful for the strangers who showed up.

All of these services for unclaimed veterans are open to the public.

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