FERRIER FILES: Social media saves veteran's funeral
What happened one year ago Tuesday at the Middle Tennessee Veteran's Cemetery was unthinkable, actually impossible, before Facebook.
And all for a man who never used it.
Vietnam Veteran Dan Hastings died estranged from his family, his dad, his seven children, no one was in contact with him for 26 years. So when he died it looked like his funeral would be attended by his only two friends but when Beth Burch wrote about it on Facebook. Oh my goodness.
Look what happened. And it wasn't just honor guards and motorcycles and fire trucks. It wasn't just full military honors. It was people. Lots of people who just kept coming.
"It is an honor to be here. Nobody should ever go on their finally deployment by themselves. We are here to say well done. Carry on," said Tom Smith with Guardian Ministries.
They even stood in the rain to hear a eulogy about a man they never knew. His two friends couldn't believe it.
"Having you hear all here today is one of the greatest honors," said Beth Burch. "I never in a million years would have thought tthat little letter I wrote on social media would have resultd in all of you wonderful people being here," said Burch.
All strangers. Except for Bill Hastings, a brother who hadn't seen his brother in 26 years. He clung to the flag and his composure.
"Oh my god I can't tell you, I'm just overwhelmed. I didn't think this many people would care. This is the biggest honor I will ever experience. The greatest day of my life," said Hastings.
Dan Hastings always talked about being the only one who survived from his platoon and how hard it was to come home alone.
He may have come home alone, but he did not go home alone.