Rabel McNutt, the daughter of Lee William “Bill” McNutt III and Susana McNutt and granddaughter of a World War II U.S. Army Staff Sergeant L. William “LW” McNutt, Jr. and Josephine McNutt, is the co-founder of State Funeral for World War II Veterans. She was 10 years old when she started her non-profit and attended the Highland Park ISD school in Dallas.
Family and Residence
Rabel McNutt lives in University Park a residential area of Dallas TX. With her parents, Co-founder and Chairman for State Funeral for World War II Veterans Bill McNutt and attorney Susana McNutt, and her sister Slone McNutt. She has two more siblings. They are Thomas McNutt of Corsicana and Will McNutt of Dallas.
Thomas McNutt, a former college football player and high school coach, is married to Louisiana native Julie Martin McNutt, Ph.D. in Medicine. Will McNutt, a lawyer, multiple family apartment developer, and Marine Corps-trained Major in the Texas National Guard, is married to Michelle Glover McNutt, a public school teacher from Tennessee.
Get to Know Rabel
Rabel attends the Hockaday School in Dallas. She enjoys competing in basketball, among other activities.
As a 9th grader, she plays in her school’s Varsity Basketball team. Her interests include singing in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Children’s Choir and horseback riding.
Her favorite summer activities have included helping out and working at a CrossFit gym and attending summer basketball camps at Davidson College and the University of North Carolina.
Idea of State Funeral for World War II Veterans
Rabel McNutt, originated the unique concept for a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient from WWII as a way to honor her Godfather, Walter D. Ehlers, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Normandy in June 1944 following D Day.
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 burial, so her father, Bill McNutt, showed her YouTube footage of President Ronald Reagan and General Douglas MacArthur's state funerals. As they stood there watching, Rabel asked her father, "Are they going to have a large funeral in Washington D.C. for Uncle Ehlers and his friends?" McNutt, somewhat taken aback by his daughter's suggestion, responded, "They should!" Let's see what we can come up with."
The proposal 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 came from the mouth of a child. This funeral would be a fitting send-off for a hero and a chance to remember the 16 million men and women who wore the uniform throughout WWII.
The Root Cause
3.6 million Americans served in Korea and 2.5 million Americans served in Vietnam. The Veterans of these "forgotten wars" deserved the same final salute as the World War II Veteran received through the July 2022 funeral for Hershel "Woody" Williams.
Making the Idea a Reality
State Funeral for World War II Veterans launched a nationwide petition drive on Labor Day 2017 to persuade Congress and the President to designate a state funeral in Washington, D.C. for the last surviving Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from WWII.
The notion quickly became a national cause, with volunteer initiatives taking place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result was 16 state legislatures passing resolutions; 15 congressional delegations writing letters of support; 11 state governors writing to the White House; the American Legion unanimously supporting us at their 100th convention; and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Marine Corps League, the National World War II Museum, the Nation Medal of Honor Museum, and many other patriotic groups contacting their Washington representatives and state governors.
Mr. Williams was given a state funeral in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol on July 14, 2022.
Rabel collaborated with state chairs, veteran organizations, and finally Senator Joe Manchin and Congressman Jake Ellzey to organize a countrywide petition drive in order to achieve their goal. She personally wrote letters to many individuals, including Presidents and their families in order to make the idea a reality.
Armstrong celebrates Veterans Day
Armstrong Elementary held its annual Armstrong Veterans Day Celebration in honor of the heroes who have served our country. The Eagles listened to a panel of guest speakers including Todd Boeding who shared his experience as a Marine, Rick Rowe who described his time as a translator in the Air Force and former Armstrong Eagle, Rabel McNutt, who shared her story of starting a nonprofit to help give a state funeral for World War II veterans.
McNutt discussed how she started State Funeral for World War II Veterans as an Armstrong Eagle. Her message highlighted that it is never too early to find ways to serve others. “If you don’t see results right away, you just need to keep pushing,” McNutt said. “During my time at Armstrong, all the service projects we worked on helped lay a foundation for a dedication to service.” Students walked away from the presentation with a reverence for our nation's veterans, along with a deeper understanding of what it means to Go Forth to Serve.
Click here to learn more about State Funeral for World War II Veterans, the non-profit established by former Eagle Rabel McNutt.