Homeless veterans receive military funerals through program

Homeless veterans received a military funeral Thursday. (Jesse Gonzales)

HOLLY, Mich. - Two veterans were buried with honors today at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly just in time for Memorial Day.

In the front row at the service, three military moms sat together as the American flags were lifted from two separate caskets, folded and presented.

However, these weren’t the mothers of the deceased.

In fact, they were just strangers.

They just said they felt as if it was their duty to be there.

“This is probably my fourth or fifth service that I’ve been to,” Judy Sinclair said.

Sinclair and the two other women are with the Blue Star Mothers of America.

They said their message is simple.

They want to remember and honor all veterans, who helped give us the gift of freedom.

The men honored were U.S. Navy veteran Jimmy Ray Smith of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and U.S. Air Force veteran Don L. Flanory of Flint.

Both men honored were homeless and didn’t have any known family or friends, so their brothers in arms stepped in to help get them home.

“They will now only be known as veterans,” Tim McGillen with Dignity Memorial said. “Welcome home, gentleman. Welcome home.”

The burials were sponsored by Muehlig Funeral Chapel and the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veteran Burial Program.

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