Strangers turnout at en masse for the funeral of Navy veteran Eileen Robichaud in Methuen, Massachusetts, Friday, after the public was invited to attend the service so she wouldn't be buried alone.
Robichaud, who was 84, had no immediately family when she died two weeks ago. She was an only child, never married and never had kids, according to a notice put out by the Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home in Methuen.
But she was buried next to her father with military honors and dozens of people looking on at Elmwood Cemetery. Her gravestone was covered in flowers and adorned by U.S. flags.
The mourners even sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" for the Korean War veteran.
"The amount of people that showed up today shows me that America is still a great country. We care about our veterans and we'll go out of our way honor them," said Gary Ingham, who came from Plaistow, New Hampshire.
Three cousins were able to attend Robichaud's funeral as well — she "grew up in Methuen surrounded by a large extended family, including many cousins," the funeral home's notice said.
"It's just amazing what everybody has done today," cousin Maureen Rodarte said. "I know she's smiling."
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Robichaud had joined the Navy after high school and served honorably in a naval aviation squadron in Korea, before moving to California to live with her aunt's family, according to the funeral home.
She ended up in Metheun, where she opened a beauty salon before going back to school and becoming a consultant.
She was known to travel New England in a 23-foot Jamboree Camper she bought with her mom.
"I don't think anyone should be laid to rest, no matter who they are, by themselves," said Aaron Mizen, director at the funeral home, before the funeral.
He has seen people who served die alone before: "With a thing like this, I get the word out."