Hundreds attend Memorial Service for homeless veteran in Wyoming

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Hundreds attend Memorial Service for homeless veteran in Wyoming

Kind of a nice story out of Wyoming yesterday:

They had never met Stephen Carl Reiman, but hundreds of people packed a Wyoming chapel on Tuesday to mourn the homeless U.S. Navy veteran who died where he was a stranger.

It was standing room only at the chapel in Evansville for Reiman's funeral, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Reiman, 63, arrived in Sheridan on Nov. 8 after a three-day bus ride from a Southern California community for homeless veterans. He traveled to Wyoming with just a backpack that contained Bruce Springsteen CDs, a cellphone, a laptop, an iPod, two identification cards, a copy of his birth certificate and his Navy discharge papers. He also carried Springsteen's memoir "Born to Run," Natrona County Coroner Connie Jacobson said.   
My wife's uncle actually attended the event as well, and sent me an email last night talking about it:

I attended the funeral service.  I am never good at guessing the size of crowds but the Veteran's Chapel holds about 250 or 275 and there was standing room only, so perhaps there were 400 attending.  ALL branches of the service were represented in number, as well as members of the Casper, Mills and Evansville Fire and Police Departments.  The Navy performed the escort and Flag fold parts of the service, presenting the flag to his sister, Diane, with the shell casings from the rifle salute as a remembrance.  A procession headed by the Casper, Mills and Evansville Fire and Police departments followed by the Wyoming Patriot Guard brought the remains to the Veteran's Chapel, where more Veterans holding American Flags were spaced about 20 feet apart for about 200 to 300 yards on a 25 degree (F) day with wind blowing about 15 miles per hour and snow falling.  Cars had to park as far away as 1/2 mile to access the Chapel for the service to recognize and honor this fallen homeless veteran transient without complaint.

The Brigade Chaplain from the Wyoming National Guard performed the message.  In his remarks he made at least these three major points.  Although Mr. Reiman appeared to suffer from depression, PTSD and alcoholism and thought he was alone….1) Brothers/Sisters from the service were ready to help him; 2) People who did not even know him stood ready to care for and stand with him; and 3) ALL would honor him for his service despite the demons he was facing so he did not have to face them alone, which was evidenced by those attending the service today.

The further point he made was that these Brothers/Sisters in arms and veterans, this community (from all over the country) with caring people stand ready to help ANY serviceman/woman in need, to honor them so they don't have to face their demons alone.

That's exactly right, and I don't have much to add.  But good on everyone who attended, despite the fairly obvious snowfall.
Rip Mr Reiman.
Posted in the burner | 2 comments
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Eight Bells
Copyright LCDR Bob Lockett, USN; May, 2005
Eight strikes chime ye, the quarterdeck’s bell
Loud and crisp let each be clearly heard.
Over the roar of the wild spindrift wave
Through hulls to those far below interred
Ring it to proclaim that his time was one
Of long and faithful service well conferred
Send him home with our traditions revered
In formation with all heads bowed in prayer
Eternal Father’s soft refrains ‘Strong to save’
Fiddleboard then tilted to nostrum mare
Marines at attention deliver the 21 gun salute
He’s now cradled in God’s loving hands there
The living already closing our ranks while
Chaplain consigns his remains to the deep
Hand salutes rendered in precision array
Sound taps to the depths ‘our shipmate keep’
Daily routine may return to the crew but
Empty rack tells where now he must sleep
Turn to, Shipmate, ring your bell smartly
Heard by crews in port or detachment far
Ring your bell to ever honor his memory
Sound it to announce crossing of life’s bar
Call the watch in following sea or in storm
Steady on course ‘neath Southern Cross star
His honored place with us forever remains
Standing in our unbroken bluejacket line
So solemnly strike the bell and remember
Over vast lonely expanse of abyssal brine
Ring it at muster as he no longer answers
His watch, finally relieved, now is thine.
Be steadfast in performing your duty, Sailor
As he now observes you from Heaven’s gate
Standing his watch is now your sacred burden
So carry on whatever be your rank or rate
Until he welcomes you to his eternal patrol
Piping ye aboard by his golden bells of eight

Well done LCDR Lockett. I wish I would have seen this before. It would have been very appropriate for a good friend of mine that passed a while back.
Irv Foran, Petty Officer 2, U.S. Navy, !966 - !970

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.