A Vietnam War veteran who passed away last week with no known living relatives was laid to rest Tuesday at a Nebraska cemetery — with as many as 2,000 supporters attending — after his funeral notice went viral.
Stanley Stoltz, of Bennington, Neb., died Nov. 18 at the age of 73. The Omaha World-Herald newspaper ran a 23-word notice inviting the public to his funeral.
“Public invited to cemetery to honor Vietnam veteran with no known family,” it read. “Interment at Omaha National Cemetery on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 2 pm.” The notice quickly spread around social media and was picked up by news networks.
On Tuesday, cemetery officials estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people turned out for Stoltz’s burial. WOWT-TV reported that the burial service started late so that stragglers would not miss anything.
“No vet deserves to die alone,” attendee Dick Harrington told the station.
“This is the kind of reception our Vietnam veterans deserved,” said Amy Douglas, another mourner. “And the fact that he gets this kind of reception going home is fitting. It’s fitting.”
Stoltz was born May 29, 1945, and raised in Curlew, Iowa. Former Bennington Mayor Bill Bohn, who was Stoltz’s friend and neighbor, told The Associated Press that Stoltz settled in the town of approximately 1,500 after his Vietnam service.
Friends say Stoltz’s first wife died of cancer, and he and his second wife divorced. He had no children and was preceded in death by his parents and siblings.