When Harold Jellicoe Percival died at age 99 last month, he was one of thousands of veterans who almost left the world without people knowing about the supreme sacrifice he made for his country. Percival, who fought for Britain in the Dambusters Raid -- which was a World War II battle in which German dams were attacked -- lived in solitude most of his life and never married or had children. He had no close friends or relatives. As a result, his funeral, which had been scheduled to take place on Veterans Day -- or Remembrance Day, as it is known in Britain -- was destined to be a lonely affair.
But Percival's insanely thoughtful funeral directors wouldn't let that happen. And thanks to them, the veteran got the memorial he, and all vets, deserve.
What began as a simple newspaper advertisement to request people to attend Percival's funeral grew and grew into a huge online campaign asking strangers to grace the hero with both their presence at the memorial and to contribute donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund. What happened as a result of their efforts is truly inspiring: 300 people attended the service, which included prayers, blessings, an address from the reverend, and the playing of the Dambusters theme as Percival's coffin was carried into the chapel.
Strangers left flowers and crosses with messages for the vet by the chapel, and mourners of all ages lined up with umbrellas to pay their respects to him. As it turned out, some of Percival's distant relatives were also present.
It doesn't take much to restore our faith in humanity and something this simple really does it. It would have been simple for people to ignore the online pleas to attend Percival's funeral or to take the attitude that it's not their problem. But veterans are the backbone of our country and give so much to protect our freedom and way of life. It's beautiful to think they've helped make Percival as popular as Miley -- for at least one day.
Are you doing anything special to honor Veterans Day or pay tribute to the veterans in your life?
Image via YouTube