Well. Today is Veteran’s Day. And I cannot help but feel bad that I did nothing to honor our troops. Sure I saw flags flying, but one, it is hard to take a day of remembrance when you still have 4 classes to attend, and two, being away from my family on a day like today seems unjust. Though I am sure most were sincere, my Facebook and Twitter feed filled up with status of reflection and photos of recollection. On national holidays social media seems to be swarming with timelines, family photos, famous quotes and features.
This year, as I searched through my pages, I found a unique article. An angle I had never seen before, and timely enough to be making its way around the web on this holiday.
With the headline: “A Veteran Died with Nobody to Attend his Funeral – What happened Next was Incredibly Moving.” I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Journalistically its not entirely optimistic, but I am not sure that the author had this intention. Either way, it wasn’t revealing, thus grabbing my attention.
The story is about a man named Harold who was a WW2 Vet. He died last month at 99 years old. His name and story appeared in a local paper. Not highlighted with a large photo, or placed on a primer page, but under the obituaries, as normal. Harold did not have any close friends or family around to bury him. The obituary called upon local servicemen to please attend in his honor.
Now, one reader found Harold’s story incredibly disheartening. He took a snapshot of the newspaper article and tweeted “So sad …. I do hope someone can attend.”
No where in the original post are designated intentions for the photo to go viral … but it did. Thus again displaying the inevitable power of social media. Buzzfeed, the news forum in which I uncovered the article, shows photographs of the image being circulated across Twitter.
Not only for the death announce, but for the funeral as well. As recorded via mobile journalism, hundreds of people showed up to Harold’s funeral. Photos were published of mourners young and old, servicemen and community members. Each telling its own story.
Not only do I think this is an amazing example of what good journalism, and social media can do for the community, but I think it is an example of decency. No photo was meant to attract a profit, suggest a bias or draw in readers. Rather it was a simplistic means of expression to honor someone who fought for our country.