OLATHE, Kan. — Last Veterans Day, one metro vet got a big surprise when a metro middle school choir decided to stop and sing the National Anthem for him inside Pizza Street.
It was one of Roy Blackburn’s favorite Veterans Days, his granddaughter, Kelsey Taylor, told FOX4. His family didn’t expect it would also be his last.
Taylor said her grandpa died on Feb. 23 in his home surrounded by his family and loved ones. He was a Navy veteran and retired fire marshal.
“We stayed up all night with him Saturday making sure he was at peace,” Taylor said in a message. “He passed away peacefully, from asbestosis which he had had for many many years. We were lucky to have him as long as we have.”
Cellphone video shows the impromptu performance at the Olathe pizza restaurant. Blackburn is seen with his wife, Carol, standing with his hat off and his hand over his heart. Choir students and customers alike stand around the couple, singing.
Teresa Murray-Posey, Mission Trail’s choir director, said the idea came to her when she saw Blackburn wearing a Navy hat.
“The littlest moments sure can make a huge difference in someone’s life,” Murray-Posey said.
The kids said they were happy to sing for the couple, and Blackburn said the moment filled him with pride.
“God bless you,” Blackburn said. “Do whatever you can for this wonderful country we live in.”
Murray-Posey told FOX4 some of her students will be singing the National Anthem again at his funeral on Saturday. The Navy and the fire department will be honoring him at his funeral as well.
The visitation will be held at McGilley & Frye Funeral Home from 5-8 p.m. on Feb. 28. The funeral will be the following morning at 10 a.m.