PERRY, OK (KJRH) — When WWII veteran Herman White died earlier this month, he was all alone, with no family and no close friends. But his funeral on September 4 is turning out to be a much different story.
Curtis Burns has played the bagpipes for 15 years, so when he got a call to play at White's funeral, he agreed right away.
"When I saw that it was for a veteran and some of the background to it, I without a doubt wanted to do it," Burns said. "After I agreed to do it, then I found out about the scope of it."
That scope - nearly 10,000 shares across Facebook.
When White died he wanted to be buried next to his wife at Grace Hill Cemetery in Perry. But he left everything, including his house, to his local baptist church. With no money and no next of kin after his wife and son both died before the year 2000, that almost never happened.
"What it really says to me is when a veteran is in need, Oklahoma is there to help," Burns said.
The team at Bown-Dugger Funeral Home began to do some digging. They found they would just need the money to open and close the grave, which White's baptist church happily fronted. Then, after a call to a Navy recruiter resulted in a Facebook post, White's story caught fire.
Funeral Director Rebecca Raines began receiving calls just hours after the post went up. People wanted to know how they could honor White's life, and how they could help with the ceremony.
The funeral is now set to include a dove release and letters from the governor, a Navy admiral, and President Trump. White will receive his proper send-off with Taps and a flag presentation, rifle volley, a eulogy, and moment of silence.
"I hope that there's tons of flags, I hope that there's thousands of people, I hope there's not a dry eye in the county," Raines said. "I want it to be what every World War II veteran, what any veteran of any war in the United States, deserves."
White will lie in state at Bown-Dugger Funeral Home on Friday and Tuesday before the procession Wednesday morning.
If you'd like to attend the ceremony, the procession from Bown-Dugger Funeral Home will begin at 9:15 a.m. to drive to Grace Hill Cemetery. Flags will be handed out at the cemetery, which begins at 10:00 a.m.
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