How We Became an organization
At its core, State Funeral for World War Veterans is about your family’s story. Perhaps that is the story of an unmarried teenager on a cramped boat with thousands of other Marines, shipping off to the Battle of Incheon. Perhaps it is the story of a woman in her twenties, a member of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), or of a military nurse treating a wounded soldier from the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge.
Nationally acclaimed ideas come from the most unlikely places.
Texas elementary school student Rabel McNutt was blessed to have a godfather in Mr. Walter D. Ehlers. The New York Times wrote the following on February 21, 2014, one day after he died: “Walter D. Ehlers, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his exploits as an Army sergeant in the D-Day invasion of France and came to personify the heroism of the G.I.s who stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, died on Thursday in Long Beach, Calif. He was 92.”
Rabel McNutt had never been to a military funeral, so her father, Bill McNutt, showed her YouTube vide of the state funerals of President Ronald Reagan and General Douglas MacArthur. As they watched, Rabel turned to her father and asked, “Are they going to do a big funeral in Washington D.C. for Uncle Ehlers and his friends like they do for President's and Generals?" Somewhat awestruck at his daughter’s idea, McNutt replied, “They should! Let’s see what we can do.” From the mouth of a child the idea was born to convince the President of the United States to designate a state funeral for the last Congressional Medal of Honor holder from World War II. This funeral, held on July 14, 2022 was a final salute to a hero and the 16 million men and women who wore the uniform during World War II. The Speaker of the House and the Senate Minority Leader spoke in the rotunda of the Capitol.
That afternoon over 1,000 people attended a second service at the World War II Memorial. Two of our National Board members participated. Dr. Danny Reeves spoke and James "Doc" McCloughan (Medal of Honor, Vietnam) sang the National Anthem.
Following the successful events of July 14, 2022 the organization changed its name to "State Funeral for War Veterans" and has a new mission statement that reads as follows