LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- An American hero was laid to rest today.
Edward Vaughn, a World War II Vet, was kidnapped from his Judsonia home last month, and severely beaten. He later passed away. His church family wanted Friday's focus to be on the veteran's life and not his death.
Friday, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, Ed Vaughan was buried in the Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery. His church family said the humble man wouldn't have believed just how many people came to his service from all over the state, just to be certain the veteran was buried beside his brothers and sisters at arms.
After a long ride from Judsonia, escorted by the Arkansas Patriot Guard Riders, Vaughan's casket was carried through a sea of red white and blue to his interment service at the Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery.
"Ed was a great man. He was a man who loved life. He was a man, who even at the age of 91, he would still get out and change a tire on a car; whatever he could do,” his pastor, Johnny Mitchell, said to the crowd.
Vaughan didn't have any family close by, so dozens of members of his church, veterans, and even Senator John Boozman came to pay their respects.
"It is important that he's here with his comrades. That's a unique fraternity. It's something we as a state can be very, very proud of,” the Senator said of the service and the cemetery.
The 91-year-old's pastor could barely fight back the tears as he talked about the man he helped get out of homelessness only one year ago.
"I never dreamed that I would have an opportunity to stand with a crowd such as this and his fellow brothers that have fought for the freedom of this country, and that I could stand here and share a burden that's on my heart and one that was on Ed's; that God is the one who brought us together,” Pastor Mitchell said.
The veteran downplayed his service, but they recently found out he actually built trinkets and other made-to-order needs for General Patton.
"He sacrificed his life for my freedom before I was ever born, and it's just amazing how toward the end of his life, God made our paths cross so he could supply Ed's needs at this time in his life,” he said.
The service was arranged by the Arkansas Patriot Guard. Jeremy Ashby accepted an American flag in his honor, as 21 shots were fired.
"I hope that our nation, our state, and our communities realize the importance of veterans' service to our nation. And will do anything they can to deter something like this from happening to somebody else,” Ashby said.