Why complete strangers showed up to a local veteran’s funeral

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - When his friend, World War II Marine veteran Samuel Schwartz passed away last week, James Linton began scrambling.

With no family nearby, he feared his friend would be buried alone, a ceremony undeserving of a veteran, and a man like Sam.

"It haunted me that he wouldn't be remembered," said Linton. "I didn't want to see him just fade away."

Schwartz, 94, died last week, and on Sunday, Linton reached out to FOX17 News.

"I was hoping we'd have a dozen people," said Linton. But he got far more than that.

Very quickly, calls started to roll in. The VFW, American Legion, the Patriot Guard Riders and several branches of the military sent representatives out to Schwartz's burial at Graceland Cemetery on Wednesday. Even complete strangers who caught the story came to pay their respects.

"It's an answer to a prayer," said Linton, clutching a folded flag in honor of his friend after the burial. "A lot of people have Sams in their lives and I think this touched a lot of people."

 

Schwartz enlisted one year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.  His wife was also a U.S. Marine veteran.  They were married for 60 years before she died in 2009.

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