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Vietnam's Larry Casey Gets Military Funeral After Ashes Found

Vietnam's Larry Casey Gets Military Funeral After Ashes Found

(Maria Dryfhout/Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 17 May 2018 08:33 AM

Vietnam veteran Larry Casey received a full military funeral Tuesday at Baltimore National Cemetery, some 16 years after he died, thanks to the power of a stranger and social media, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Dave Fullarton recently found Casey's ashes while cleaning out the home of a friend who passed away, the television station said. Casey was a captain in the U.S. Army who served from 1966 to 1960, according to the Sun.

Casey went on to work at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at its training center in Glynco, Georgia, before dying in 2002 at 54 after suffering a heart attack brought on by the flu, his wife Jan Casey said, per the newspaper.

A military service was held for Casey then with some of his ashes given to his best friend, Joseph C. "Cliff" Lund. Lund also happened to be friends with Fullarton, though Fullarton and Casey had never met and didn't know each other, the Sun and CNN reported.

Fullarton said when he realized the urn in Lund's home contained the remains of a military veteran, he contacted the Baltimore National Cemetery for help, adding that he "couldn't just walk away without doing anything."

Initial efforts to find Casey's family turned into dead ends, so Fullarton and Baltimore National Cemetery director Michael D. Brophy went to social media. Brophy's staff organized an unaccompanied burial service for the rest of Casey's ashes, the Sun reported.

"We say that no veteran ever truly dies," Brophy told the Sun. "We all die a physical death, and then when we're forgotten, we die a second time. We want to ensure that no military veteran ever dies alone."

When Brophy and Fullarton sent out social media messages asking veterans to attend Tuesday’s service, one was retweeted by Jake Tapper, chief Washington correspondent for CNN. That post went viral.

One Twitter user found Casey's daughter, Leah Casey, who worked as a senior policy and budget analyst for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She was then able to put Brophy in touch with Casey's widow, Jan Casey, who lived in Georgia, the Sun said.

CNN reported that about 300 people accompanied the family for the funeral, including dozens of veterans and law enforcement officers.

"That they wanted to honor him, and that was, I think, the most overwhelming part, is that they wanted to do this for my dad," Leah Casey told WBAL-TV, who was able to attend the funeral on a moment's notice Tuesday with her stepmother.

Jan Casey told the television station that she was "excited" that there was such an interest in her late husband and plans to bring the grandchildren to the burial site.

"I was totally dumbfounded," Jan Casey told WBAL-TV. "Didn't know what to think. I couldn't believe what was happening. It's, like, you wake up and things are starting all over again. It's remarkable. I'm so excited this has happened."

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A stranger took the internet to ensure that Vietnam veteran Larry Casey got a full military burial when he found Casey's ashes more than a decade after the former Army captain's death.
vietnam, larry casey, veteran, ashes
Thursday, 17 May 2018 08:33 AM
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