Teens flank Vietnam War veteran’s coffin as they volunteer as pallbearers at his funeral

Our soldiers have nobly fought to protect freedom since our country’s birth, and have fought to protect those that could not protect themselves, even in foreign lands when called upon.” — John Linder

The admirable courage and inspiring selflessness that the veterans displayed while they were in duty deserves to live on our memories. There’s no doubt that if there is anyone who deserves our utmost respect, it is no other than our war veteran heroes who risked their lives for ours.

Thomas Hunter, a war veteran army who served in battlefield from the year 1942-1949, risked his life in the largest amphibious assault in our history. His dedicated his then young life to protect our country during the D-Day invasion of World War II.

After serving in the army by the end of 1949, Mr. Thomas Hunter lead a normal life. However, the war veteran did not get married. It seemed that he was already happy in the company of his 11 siblings.

Sadly, on the 12th day of September, Mr. Thomas Hunter took his last breath. At the ripe age of 93, the war veteran who fought during the WW2 passed away, leaving a few nieces behind.

But since Mr. Hunter managed to outlive his 11 siblings, none of his immediate family is left to carry his casket. During the planning of his funeral, his surviving nieces did not know who they could ask to carry Mr. Thomas Hunter’s casket.

Fortunately, the funeral director at Southern Funeral Homes in Winnfield, Louisiana knew what to do. Bryan Price, the director, reached out to the local football coach, Lyn Bankston to ask for help.

The local football coach then asked if any of the young men he knew would be willing to carry the casket of a war veteran. Knowing that these young men do not only possess strong leadership skills but an admirable kind heart as well, he knew they would be more than willing to lend a hand.

He asked Brett Jurek, Justin Lawson, Matthew Harrell, T.J. Homan, Lee Estay, and Christian Evans if they would be willing to help out the deceased war veteran. Not disappointing the expectation of the local coach, they immediately agreed to help knowing about Mr. Thomas Hunter’s story.

“These are all young men who are leaders in our program and our community. They know the sacrifice Mr. Hunter made and it meant something to them.” Lyn Bankston explained.

The young men even asked whether it would be okay for them to wear their football jerseys.
“The kids asked if it was appropriate for them to wear their jerseys, and I said absolutely it was because you and this program stand for exactly what Mr. Hunter stood for when he was serving this country.” Coach Bankston shared.


To honor the priceless services Mr. Thomas Hunter rendered to our country during the World War II, the 6 young football men carried his casket with pride. They sent the war veteran on a somber and solemn ceremony.

To acknowledge the efforts of the 6 young athletes, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham praised the kind gesture of the football players during his speech on the House floor.

“They didn’t know this man, but they knew that every veteran deserves to die with dignity and be honored for the sacrifices he made in defence of this nation.” U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham said. “I think the actions of these young men speak volumes about what’s truly important – country, community, family, God.” The house representative added.

Meanwhile, Coach Bankston could not be even more proud of the kind gesture his players displayed.

“One of the things we try to teach our young people is to value history and to recognize that so many people sacrificed so they could have the life they have.” Coach Bankston proudly shared.

Kudos to the young football players, the war veteran who served our country was not sent off on his own.  After all, no war veteran of any generation deserves to be forgotten, because if not for the life they have risked, we wouldn’t be here today.

Watch the heartwarming video below from USA Today and may their story remind us not to forget about the heroes who stood up for our country.

38 thoughts on “Teens flank Vietnam War veteran’s coffin as they volunteer as pallbearers at his funeral”

  1. Proud of these young men for stepping up. And I believe they volunteered, not voluntold. If you want to lay blame on why an Honor Guard detail wasn’t present, ask the funeral home. They’re supposed to have contact information for every military installation within their radius for this purpose. If our NCOIC wasn’t contacted by a funeral director, it was a family member.
    I spent 2.5 years on a base Honor Guard. We covered a good portion of TX, AR, and OK. It’s been a lot of years, and the policies and coverage today has changed, but this veteran was entitled to a 3 person team, minimum. Flag fold, Taps, presentation of flag, rifle volley. Casket carry isn’t covered unless we were able to bring a 7 person team. Only twice was I part of a short (1 day) notice funeral request were we couldn’t field a full 8 member team and had to go with 4. Retirees get 8 person teams, active duty 22-23 person teams. Burial at Arlington is different.

  2. God bless these young men and their coach only a truly dark and deeply Disturbed heart could find any fault in what these young men did God bless the veteran and Godspeed go home now faithful Soldier

  3. for those that disliked the way these young men was asked to be the pallbearer to this soldier SHAME ON YOU NOT FOR NOTHING BUT THESE MEN DIDNT HAVE TO CARRY THIS VETERN THEY CHOSE TO JUST TO HONOR THIS MAN. These young men will probably be the next in line to be in the millitary and hope that if something should ever happen to them the same coach will honor them as they did with this vetern

  4. 14609 KK, you really suck.
    Pallbearer has nothing to do with the local VFW or American Legion or other military groups.
    Pallbearer is a family choice. I was on funeral detail in the US Army for an assignment. A Senator in Georgia. Nice family. Hard duty.
    Pallbearer can be family, or friends, or military honorguard. The article did not specify whether there was an honor guard there or not or at least I didn’t read it anywhere. I think even a military Honor Guard will walk beside the casket if the family wants personal pallbearers to carry the casket. I cannot believe that you would say something akin to the statement that you made.
    Nobody made those boys do anything to it said right there in the article that they even asked to wear their football uniforms. Football players for the most part in this country are very patriotic. There’s always a few setbacks and naysayers. It’s a good thing you go by a numerical identification instead of a name because I think you would have just drug your own name through the mud.
    Like the lady did a couple of comments down from yours. People are so hateful and just have to hate on anything and everything. This was a great man, and these boys did a wonderful thing. War begins at the individual level.
    With words.

  5. It would have been nice if it was a child who heard about the dead vet and then asked his fellow students, but this was a Coach asking the kids, and like a teacher or parent a coach “asking” mean much different then one student asking another student. A coach ASKING isn’t really asking. I bet a few of the student will never forget what their coach once MADE them do. Next time call an active millitary office and they will send real active troops in uniform. This vet deserved better then this.

  6. God bless this coach who asked, and the young men who answered. This is our future, and it’s good to see strong leadership among those coming up. And hats off to the parents who raised them. Be proud.

    To the naysayers…SHAME on you! As for VFW or local Military offices not being notified…do they not check up on our veterans? Especially WWll, 93 years old, with only a few nieces surviving. If they aren’t helping these veterans while they’re alive, they don’t deserve the honor that goes with being pall bearer at their funeral.

  7. Some of the replies here are certainly very hostile. Having these young teens do this was a great teaching moment for our future. They learned about respect and devotion to duty.

  8. This story brought tears to my eyes. I love this story very much and I think this shows positive actions from high school kids. This boys showed respect and honor to this Veteran. I applaud them.

  9. I got goose bumps when I started reading this ,by the end I was in tears . With all the contrvercy we have in our country , this display of respect makes me proud to be an American .

  10. As a Veteran myself. I will always stand up and Salute people like these young men. I am proud of them all. To see Americas youth to volunteer for a mission as such. Makes me happy to be an American. To the soldier, Job well done. Your mission is complete. You may now rest easy. We will take it from here. To the soldiers family, THANK YOU!! You can rest assured he will be well looked after in heaven.

  11. Despite news headlines to the contrary, there is hope for America and these young men are at the forefront of change for a better future.

  12. I salute these young men for sending him off in honorable way. Everyone should be pround of them they are what makes America great and will continually be great as long as we have young men like them.

  13. As a Veteran’s wife I praise these young men. They are the heart of this generation. More kids need to learn the love and respect that they have. Bless you all.

  14. Job well done!!! Young men who step up to the plate like this as a veteran myself I stand and salute you. Thank you!!!


  16. Very encouraged by these young men stepping up! With so much disrespect these days toward our military hero’s and flag and country it truly is heartwarming to see positive actions come forth. Kudos to these fellas. And to the brave Mr. Hunter: thank you for your service RIP.

  17. As a former football coach I applaud the coaches and players for standing up and doing this out of respect for this veteran coaches keep teaching them the right way you are doing a great job I thank this veteran for his service to our country my condolences to his family

  18. Thank you for sharing your time and thoughts for a man that put his heart and life on the line for or country. The USA must never forget the veterans and always pray to raise young men like this.

  19. My heart goes out to the passing of the war veteran who had passed and I’m glad those young men from the football team stepped up they should get a honable mention award for such a great job as acting as pallbearers the the war veteran .Great job men from Ron in Milan ohio

  20. Thank you fantastic young men!! As a Vietnam Vietnam veteran, I am extremely proud of the way in which you handle yourself!! You are showing what you are made of. My hat is off to each of you.

  21. Awesome job young man your truly leaders thank you from old veteran he’s at home now R.I.P. he’s looking down on you with a big smile with his family.
    God Bless you’ll and your team, coach and school

  22. We do have wonderful kids,we just hear about the bad.God bless these boys.I have 3sons and they would do this,and a lot of there frends.

  23. God Bless these young hearts for not only understanding, but standing strong when called to show respect to someone who once stepped forward to respect what he was taught.

    Thank you to parents, community and coach of these young hearts

  24. God bless you young men. With people like you coming on to take care of our country, we WILL BE OK!!!!!

  25. My Brother-In-Law was from this town. Played QB. Apparently that’s the way they raised them down there.

  26. I went to high school at this school and couldn’t be more proud of these young men!!! President Trump needs to see this and show the country how real good young men act and not be kneeling for protesting!!!!

  27. Thank you to all the young men who selflessly gave of themselves to honor a veteran. God bless you all for you your dedication to this veteran and your country.

    This speaks volumes of your character and integrity

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