It was my humble honor to sound Taps as part of the Military Honors detail on January 17, 2020, for John Meade Jr., a homeless veteran who died with no family. Mr. Meade served in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968, and was honorably discharged. Some years ago, he endured some difficult personal and emotional hardships that changed the course of his life. With the passing of his wife, he chose a transient life and was voluntarily homeless. Mr. Meade was a very pleasant man who greeted everyone he met with a smile and kind words. Due to his friendliness and pleasant personality, he never met a stranger and was well known and liked by locals and tourists alike in St. Augustine, Florida.
Upon his passing, local law enforcement was unable to locate any family or next of kin, but discovered his veteran status. The Veterans Council of St. John’s County then stepped in and took responsibility for his funeral arrangements and burial in Jacksonville National Cemetery (Jacksonville, Florida). The Veterans Council of St. Johns County reached out to the local veterans community and the public about the plight of the homeless veteran with no known family and invited them to honor him and his service. The community response was overwhelmingly strong, garnering a large gathering and major media coverage at his internment.
I was proud to represent Bugles Across America, the Sons of the American Legion, and my Legion family by volunteering to be a part of honoring John Meade Jr. and his service to this country. His life may have been such that he was a homeless veteran without family at the time of his passing, but HE WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.
Honor and Remember those who have served.
Jim Steele, Bugler
Commander, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 137
Member of the Year 2018-2019, Detachment of Florida