After the death of a decorated hero, a community comes together to honor his service and legacy.
It was a sad day when decorated soldier, James McConnell, passed away. As a member of the U.K.’s Royal Marines, the man had very limited interactions with the public. He had spent most of his life and service in silence about his career, protecting and guarding the royal monarchy.
The honorable man died at the age of 70 in a nurse home in Southsea, Hampshire. During his time there, nurses noted James hadn’t had a single visitor. The passing of all his family members years ago left him alone on this earth for quite some time.
His caretakers were heartbroken at the fact the marine would most likely go unknown in his death. It was even rumored whether there’d be any attendants at all standing at his funeral. They knew they couldn’t let James’ legacy be buried with him.
In a desperate plea, Reverend Rob Mason wrote to the Royal Marines Association asking for help to lay the man in peace.
“…it is tragic enough that anyone has to leave this world with no one to mourn their passing, but this man was family and I am sure you will agree deserves a better send off. If you can make it to the graveside for that time to pay your respects to a former brother in arms then please try to be there,” Mason wrote.
The cold and foggy morning of February 21, was brightened by the hundreds of people who came to honor the marine’s life. James received a military funeral complete with trumpets, his comrades in uniform, and the processional he deserved. All in all, over 200 attendants stood in his name.
In a message to the crowd, Danny Marshall, a former Royal Marine, said the final goodbye to James in an endearing speech.
“It was mentioned wrongly that he did not have family: the corps family is bigger and better than most people would know about,” Marshall exclaimed. “…We are all family and always will be.”