SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It was an emotional day for many Sunday at Sampson Chapel of the Acres in Springfield. Family, friends, brothers in arms and total strangers came to say goodbye Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan.
Thousands were at Sampson Chapel of the Acres Sunday night, to say goodbye to a man many call a hero, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan. Active marines paid their respects to Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan, then turned to his family, thousands more did the same.
On Friday Hundreds lined the streets from Sumner Avenue all the way to the Sampson Chapel of the Acres in Springfield, as a tribute to Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan as he made his way home.
Funeral home director John Sampson Sr. told 22News that the Sullivan family is overwhelmed by the community support.
“To see Sumner Ave with what I guesstimate to be 20,000 people, when we had the windows open in the limousine, I drove the family, it was just heart-warming and they were appreciative of it,” said John Sampson Sr, Director, Sampson Chapel of the Acres.
Many who attended Sullivan’s services did not know him personally, but felt they needed to be there.
“We expect them to die overseas once and awhile, we don’t want them to but everybody perishes at some point in time for our country and our freedom. But to perish on U.S. soil is the worst,” said Staff Sgt. Frank Sacco, Massachusetts National Guard.
Monday there will be a private funeral and burial, only for family, friends, local leaders and fellow marines.
More than 2,000 Patriot Riders are expected to line up on Main St. in Agawam as Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan is brought to his final resting place, the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
If you still would like to pay tribute to Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan, but don’t know how. The Sullivan family is asking that you make a donation to “Solider On”. A Non-profit to end veteran’s homelessness.