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WWII vet to be laid to rest without full military honors, family present due to COVID-19

A World War II Navy veteran and former NYPD captain will be laid to rest Wednesday but will not receive the full military honors and most of his family won't be able to attend due to the coronavirus.

News 12 Staff

Apr 1, 2020, 12:19 AM

Updated 1,567 days ago

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A World War II Navy veteran and former NYPD captain will be laid to rest Wednesday but will not receive the full military honors and most of his family won't be able to attend due to the coronavirus.

Thomas McLaughlin says his 94-year-old father Robert died Sunday.

"It's wonderful that he's in heaven and with my mom and everything like that, but we kind of feel in a way, cheated, not being able to celebrate his life," says Thomas McLaughlin.

Robert McLaughlin had eight children, 20 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

"It's heartbreaking that my sister can't be here from Philadelphia and my brother can't be here from North Carolina and their children, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren," says Thomas McLaughlin.

Robert McLaughlin served in the Navy during World War II and later joined the NYPD and retired as a captain detective with 15 citations, including the Medal of Honor, the department's highest award.

All of those accolades meant that he would have had a funeral and burial service with full military and police honors. But instead, the coronavirus and social distancing requirements mean only a few family members get to say their final goodbye.

A state mandate says only 10 people are allowed inside a funeral home at a time.

The McLaughlin family says they are looking forward to the time when they can all celebrate Robert McLaughlin's life together.

The McLaughlin family, one of whom is a former employee at News 12, says they do hope to have a funeral Mass and the military honors at a later date.


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