Never alone: Minnesota Veterans step in for family at funeral service


“Never alone” is something you hear often these days when discussing Veterans.

Usually, it is in reference to Veterans facing challenges as a result of their military service. This week, the Veteran community in Minnesota had the honor of making sure one of its own did not go to his final rest alone.

Peter Falk was a 67- year-old Vietnam-era Navy Veteran who died on June 16, 2017, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Falk was scheduled to be buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota, but had no family to attend his burial service.

Normally when this happens, the employees at the cemetery, 75 percent of whom are Veterans themselves, stop work and attend the funeral. John Knapp, deputy director of Fort Snelling National Cemetery, reached out to the St. Paul Regional Benefits Office to see if some of their personnel could attend.

Not only did regional office want to be part of this honored event, they felt more should be done to make sure this Veteran was given the respect his service warranted. The office used social media to spread the word, starting with a post on the St. Paul Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Facebook page.

News spread quickly.

As the time for the interment approached, a long line of cars continued to grow. Patriot Guard riders were there holding flags. Several military units from the area arrived in uniform to show their respect.

In all, more than 100 people gathered to show Veteran Peter Falk the final respect he had earned.

He was not, and never will be, alone.


VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at


  1. Rodger Mathews    

    I started my Army career as a trumpeter in the 4th Infantry Division Band. I played Taps for several funerals at Fort Logan Natl. Cemetery in Denver that were attended by only a chaplain and our rifle and flag-folding teams. Very sad.

    It’s heartening to hear of people paying their respects to those who have no one to mourn them.

    Master Sergeant, U.S. Army (Ret.)

    1. Daniel Sciortino    

      I’ve learned each veteran I see on the street or on the television is either a brother or sister. Therefore, when highlighted with recent behavior that is positive in nature I salute them regardless of where I’m at and what I’m doing. Most people who serve are appreciated more than others. And, that’s a kinship not shared with others. I’m proud to have served with them.

  2. John Arthur Froemke, Sr.    

    Very good idea. Thank you Minnestans.

    If you want to do a story from Illinois, check with the Lovell VA in North Chicago. At the end of life for veterans in the extended care facility, they will call out the people who are available in the building at the time and do a muster when the veteran is taken out to the waiting funeral car.

  3. Richard Pierce    

    In Rockford, IL The Honor Guard from Viet Now headed by Bruce Jacobsen has been doing that for years. They are very, very good. That quality has been honed by far too much experience.

  4. Leon Suchorski    

    This sounds just like the Marines that I knew when I was in the Corps. We never leave our buddies alone. And those from Minnesota were some of the greatest to serve with.

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