A photo of a deceased Vietnam veteran at his own funeral visitation has gone viral because it shows how poorly the vet was treated.
Family and friends were shocked when they arrived at the Heritage Funeral Home for the visitation of George Taylor, 71, and found his body laid on a gurney with a flag draped over it with no casket in sight.
Taylor died May 8 and was to be buried with military honors at Chattanooga National Cemetery. Those plans hit a snag when, according to Taylor’s son James, the funeral home refused to put Taylor in a casket because of a complication with the life insurance payment.
“At first we were OK with it but like I told the guy, I said this was very disrespectful to my dad,” Taylor told WTVC.
James claimed that the family received little to no advance warning about the situation.
He said the funeral home also refused to bury Taylor until it received payment.
The story, along with the photo, was posted on Facebook, where it was shared thousands of times.
“They came to me and told me that unless that nine thousand dollars was paid, they couldn’t put him into the ground, he would have to sit in the freezer until we paid it or (until) the insurance came through,” Taylor said.
Representatives from Heritage Funeral Home claimed they honored the family’s request and did nothing wrong.
David Cummings with the funeral home told WTVC, “We were trying to honor the request and let them have some closure by viewing their loved one.”
Managing Director at Heritage Funeral Home Ben Friberg told WRCB that when a family cannot pay for their services up-front, they are encouraged to seek financial help from local organizations.
The Chattanooga National Cemetery told WTVC they contacted the funeral home after a cemetery employee shared the story with them. Cemetery Director Charles Arnold said the funeral home assured him that Taylor would be placed in a proper casket for the burial.
“We wanted to make sure that this burial would meet our standards as we would do with every veteran,” said Arnold.
Taylor was laid to rest Friday afternoon.
It’s a shame that Taylor ended up displayed on a gurney. This is despicable behavior and just one more example of the lack of respect our veteran’s so often receive. United States veterans deserve better.
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