Strangers invited to Knoxville funeral for U.S. Army veteran from Arkansas with no family

National News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Thursday morning, the body of United States Army veteran Charles Sidney Sides will be laid to rest at the East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in Knoxville, alone and without family or friends. A local honor guard is hoping to change that.

Sides, 84, of Maynardville is an honorably discharged veteran who retired from the U.S. Army as a Staff Sergeant. His obituary, posted online by the Cooke-Campbell Mortuary in the veteran’s hometown, says he was born in Rector, Arkansas to the late Charles and Delta Sides.

But that is where the list of family names end. Sides is classified by the U.S. Department an ‘unclaimed veteran,” a former service member who dies with no next of kin or anyone willing to claim their remains, and who did not have sufficient resources available to cover burial and funeral expenses. So those involved with the burial are reaching out to invite the public to attend the funeral.

Sides is far from alone in being classified as an unclaimed veteran. This past September, 7 veterans were laid to rest in Knoxville and dozens of strangers attended the Knoxville funeral of veteran Kathryn Bey.

Graveside military honors are planned at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 10 at East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 2200 East Governor John Sevier Highway in Knoxville by the Tri-County Veterans Honor Guard. Interment will follow at the cemetery.

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