When a veteran p…. away, people were invited to pay their respects and honor him for his service. They sat in the pews and waited for the funeral to begin. Then, the church doors opened, and their jaws hit the floor.
John Fitzmaurice, a veteran of the U.S. Army, was homeless when he passed away. In addition to not having a place to call home, he didn’t really have any family, friends, or loved ones either. There was no one to claim his body. This also meant there wouldn’t be many people — if any at all — to attend his funeral.
However, when a group of high school students found out about it, they decided the homeless veteran should receive the honor he deserved. Teenagers from Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, honored the late John T. Fitzmaurice by not only attending his funeral but carrying his casket as well.
Before Fitzmaurice was laid to rest at Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon, he was given a full funeral Mass in the chapel of Catholic Memorial School. The group of boys from the private school performed their duties with pride and dignity, serving as family members for U.S. Army veteran who passed away at just 68 years old and seemingly had none.
“They were moved by the honor of standing in for this man who had no family. It was a lesson in honoring every person’s humanity,” Marcus Miller, a school spokesman, told Inside Edition. “This is the first time we’ve done this,” Miller added, but it won’t be the last.
The experienced served as an initiation to the stark realities of life, and there’s no doubt that such volunteer work will help these young men grow into compassionate and appreciative adults. It has touched each and every student, giving them a new respect for their home, their friends, and their family — things we all too often take for granted.
The teens have rightfully received praise for honoring the veteran’s service to our country and paying their respects to his achievements. This story highlights how even young students can have a positive impact on the less fortunate members of the local community, if only they are given the opportunity. Kudos to these kids and this school for recognizing and filling a void. Job well done, gentlemen.