Local News

Homeless Veteran Remembered By People Who Never Met Him

Posted Updated
Switch to classic wral.com

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — David Johnson, 44, defended his country. On Friday, he was remembered by people who never met him.

Johnson was homeless. He died in January of pneumonia. Cumberland County's veterans' services office arranged for his funeral after they could not locate any family.

Johnson was buried Friday with military honors at the Sandhills State Veteran's Cemetery Friday.

"No veteran should be buried alone. We are brothers. We need to be there for each other," Vietnam veteran Wayne Patterson said.

Johnson is not the only veteran to die alone. On any given night nationwide, more than 250,000 homeless veterans are on the streets. In Cumberland County, there are about 700 without a home.

"About 10 percent of them don't want to come off the street. They don't want the responsiblilty of house payments or of being in the United States. They just like doing what they are doing," Vietnam veteran Jim Clark said.

No one really knows how Johnson felt, but they hope he would feel touched about his final salute.

Johnson served on active duty during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was discharged for medical reasons.