Community unites to give a dying Marine his final wish

Marines are true American patriots until the end.

That point was driven home by an Oklahoma veteran who was told he had only three weeks to live and whose dying wish was to be buried in his Marine uniform and with the Marine flag.

Donnie Loneman, a proud Marine veteran who had been homeless for the past decade, could not afford to purchase a dress uniform.

Loneman died Thursday, according to KOCO in Oklahoma City.

“Donnie was his own person. He did what he wanted, and a lot of people fell in love with him for that. We get guys like him once in a blue moon, who really make a difference for everyone here,” said Christine Cleary with the Oklahoma City Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center.

When the group told Loneman’s story, it was buried by an avalanche of support from other organizations in the community.

The Kiowa Black Leggings Society, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees, Chickasaw Nation and Sgt. Grit Marine Specialties worked in concert to get the uniform donated and paid for all funeral expenses and gave him an honor guard.

“He said I don’t want you guys to be sad, I want you guys to keep going, and keep helping people,” Cleary told KOCO.

“He said, ‘I’m going to enter the gates, and I’m going to tell all the Marines that are standing there that they’re relieved of their duty, and I’m going to take their place, and I’ll stand there until my arm gets tired, and another Marine comes,’” Cleary recalled.

“He said, ‘I’m ready to go.’”


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