Hundreds attend funeral for war veteran

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:56 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - It’s days like these when we are reminded of the kindness in our local communities.

A war veteran was to be laid to rest in Augusta today with only a few people expected to attend, but a couple hundred showed up to help honor him.

For a man who said he does not have family, that was not the case at his funeral.

“it is incredible. I thought I was only going to see two or three people out there.” Jacqueline said.

Over 200 hundred Mainers, including veterans, came out to pay their respect to Linwood Bryant Ray, a 76-year-old veteran most of the people here never met.

That’s thanks to a post on Facebook from Bangor Area Veterans United that was also shared by the Maine Veterans Project.

It was shared more than a thousand times.

“I’m here because we need to thank them for everything that they do.” Jacqueline Cottrell said.

Born in 1945 to parents Vester and Dorothy of North Carolina, Ray joined the U-S Air Force in 1965 and served for eight years during the Vietnam War. He died in April at the Maine Veterans Home in Bangor where he lived for several years.

“I met him in a hour period, and he was able to share what he wanted to have done for him, and I hope to do that for him today.”

As a funeral director for over 30 years, Joseph Kiley says it never gets easier. He recalls being at an airport receiving a casket draped with a flag from the parents. He said it was a heart wrenching experience especially as a parent himself with a son in the Marine Corps.

“Things like that are what drives this home for me, being able to honor people that have served.” Kiley said.

For people like Jacqueline Cottrell who come from a family that served, she said it is great to see Mainers taking care of their own.

“We are living under a blanket of freedom that they provided. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be today than right here.”

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