“He had no family”: High school seniors carry the casket of Air Force veteran

No veteran should be laid to rest without someone by their side

It is a fundamental belief that every veteran should receive a dignified and respectful funeral when they pass away. Their unwavering commitment and sacrifices in serving their country deserve to be honored and remembered.

Tragically, some veterans find themselves without family or friends present during their final moments. However, this should never result in them being laid to rest alone. Recently, a heartwarming incident occurred when a group of compassionate high school seniors stepped up to carry the casket of an Air Force veteran.

Ralph Lambert, a retired US Air Force veteran, peacefully passed away in Louisiana at the age of 94, as reported by KALB. Regrettably, he had no loved ones who could attend his funeral.

Lambert dedicated over two decades of his life in service to his country, from 1950 to 1971. It was profoundly saddening to think that he might be laid to rest without anyone there to pay their respects.

Upon learning of the veteran’s situation, Jordan Marks, a local high school baseball coach, decided to take action. He rallied a group of six seniors from Menard High School, all members of his team, to participate in the funeral and carry Lambert’s casket.

For Coach Marks, this gesture served not only as a tribute to the veteran but also as an opportunity to impart valuable life lessons to his students beyond the realm of sports.

“I strive to teach them not just the game of baseball, but also the game of life. Whenever we have the chance to serve a community member, especially someone who has served our country, we gladly seize the opportunity,” Marks shared with KALB.

During the funeral ceremony, filled with solemnity and reverence, the six seniors – Ashton Veade, Cameron Kinder, Jacob Giordano, Jackson Ford, Ashton Brodnax, and Hunter Foster – came together to carry Ralph Lambert’s casket, adorned with the flag, as they bid him a final farewell at the Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery.

Despite having no personal connection to the veteran, this act of compassion left an indelible mark on their hearts.

“As seniors, it was an incredible honor for us to be there, particularly for someone who had no family or friends,” Jacob Giordano expressed to KALB.

Cameron Kinder added, “I felt a deep sense of empathy, and I am grateful that we had the opportunity to be present. While we all have our own families and friends, it is often easy to overlook those who lack such support.”

Instances like these are not uncommon. Tragically, some veterans pass away without anyone by their side, depriving them of the rightful honor and military tribute in their final farewell. Veterans organizations across the United States, like the Missing in America Project, tirelessly strive to identify unclaimed veterans and ensure they receive the respectful send-off they deserve.

No veteran should ever be laid to rest without someone by their side. Fortunately, this particular veteran was not forgotten, thanks to the compassion and empathy of these six remarkable high school seniors.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to these seniors for paying their respects at the veteran’s funeral. It is certain that their presence brought solace and warmth to a man who dedicated his life to serving his country, even in his final moments.

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