Droves Of Military ‘Brothers’ Pay Respects To Vietnam Vet Who Died Alone

When Vietnam veteran Peter Turnpu died last month in his New Jersey home, there was no one with him. But when he was buried Friday, more than 1,000 people came to bid a final goodbye.

”This is my brother,” said Jose Burgos, an Iraq War veteran and retired Army sergeant, according to “It’s a brotherhood.”

Turnpu was found dead Dec. 9 by a Waterford neighbor who had come to check on him.

The 77-year-old, who served in Vietnam from 1964 to 1966, had lived alone. His marriage ended in a 1980 divorce, and he had no children.

LeRoy Wooster, owner of a funeral home in Atco, New Jersey, was asked to help bury Turnpu. Not only did Wooster donate his services, he embarked on a media campaign to give Turnpu a fitting farewell.

“I thought he deserved more than that and that the community should honor him for his service to the country and recognize his death, so I reached out via social media — and the phone rang off the hook,” he told the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.

Wooster said it was important to recognize those who deserve it.

“We have to give honor to those who have served and Peter would have had no one here if we didn’t reach out,” Wooster said, according to WPVI-TV.

“I really did not want the publicity and I am not a hero. The hero is Peter. The heroes are the veterans who are here to honor him,” he said.

Turnpu’s funeral procession topped 200 vehicles, Fox News reported.

Veterans and military families from around the region came to say goodbye at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

“He was a veteran and we are all brothers at heart. He didn’t have no family, he didn’t have no relatives and that’s why we are here for him,” said Jack McGrath of Gibbsboro, New Jersey.

”It’s good that the good in people came out. This is how it should be,” said Ryan Berger, 40, of Jackson, New Jersey, whose father is buried at the cemetery. “It’s the least I could do.”

A woman who said she once lived near Turnpu said the tribute was necessary.

“I think he would be very overwhelmed by the turnout. It’s a shame that a lot of our veterans don’t get this kind of attention when they are living and I think that is something we really need to address in this country,” said Jenifer Cook of East Greenville, Pennsylvania.

After the ceremony at the cemetery, Tom Engkilterra, regional coordinator of the National League of POW/MIA Families, was given the American flag that had Turnpu’s casket.

”He’s part of my family now,” he said. “It’s a mind-blowing honor to receive it.”

“I am an American, He’s an American. We are our brother’s keeper, so it was an easy thing for me but I will never forget this I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Via WesternJournal

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