200 Attend Funeral for Veteran With No Known Relatives After Successful Internet Campaign
Lifestyle| | By Lauren Boudreau
When WWII veteran Serina Vine died, she had no known relatives. The formerly homeless vet lived in the Washington, D.C., VA hospital for 20 years before passing away at age 91. She served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946 in radio intelligence and spoke three languages.
However, she never married and never had any children, so when it came time for her funeral, only four people were attending – that is, until Army Maj. Jaspen Boothe got wind of her funeral plans.
According to ABC News, Boothe had been homeless herself once, so Vine’s story hit home. She’d heard about Vine’s situation through a Facebook message from a Marine veteran and decided to do something about it.
Boothe contacted several veteran groups to get the word out, and needless to say, it worked.
More than 200 people showed up to Vine’s funeral. Boothe was amazed. She told ABC she thought there were several funerals going on at once, but then she realized they were all there for Vine.
Martin Fuller, of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, told ABC he’d “never seen anything like it.”
“I felt like I had to go because I didn’t think anyone was going to show up. The information just went viral,” he added.
Fuller met Vine when she was living in the hospital, but said not much was known about her service or responsibilities because her service papers were missing.
Boothe said, “She was an educated woman, she loved to dance and go to church on Sundays.”
Vine received full military honors at her funeral, complete with a 21-gun salute, in the Quantico National Cemetery.