Charles Lanam had no home and no known family—but it didn’t look that way at his funeral.
Over 100 people turned out for a memorial service in Marshalltown, Iowa, to honor Lanam, a Korean War veteran who died this month at age 81. Most of those in attendance had never met him, and there wasn’t even a photo of him at the service.
Many of them, however, knew Lanam was a veteran, thanks to one funeral director’s Facebook post.
“On Monday, we are going to bury a man who served our country honorably, and probably before many of us were born,” wrote Marty Mitchell, director of the Mitchell Family Funeral Home, on April 13. He then provided the time and place of the funeral, and emphasized that the deceased had “absolutely no family.”
The post was shared over 1,700 times, and on Monday afternoon a huge crowd showed up on a quiet hill to honor a life that had nearly been forgotten.
“Charles was one of those quiet individuals who passed through life seemingly leaving not much of a mark,” Craig Nelson, a chaplain at the Iowa Veterans Home where Lanam had spent the last days of his life, said in his eulogy. “But as with all lives, he touched the people he came in contact with… Your presence is a reminder of the fact that Chuck’s life mattered.”