Rabel McNutt, the daughter of Lee William “Bill” McNutt III and Susana McNutt and granddaughter of a World War II U.S. Army Staff Sergeant L. William “LW” McNutt, Jr. and Josephine McNutt, is the co-founder of State Funeral for World War II Veterans. She was 10 years old when she started her non-profit and attended the Highland Park ISD school in Dallas.
Family and Residence
Rabel McNutt lives in University Park a residential area of Dallas TX. With her parents, Co-founder and Chairman for State Funeral for World War II Veterans Bill McNutt and attorney Susana McNutt, and her sister Slone McNutt. She has two more siblings. They are Thomas McNutt of Corsicana and Will McNutt of Dallas.
Thomas McNutt, a former college football player and high school coach, is married to Louisiana native Julie Martin McNutt, Ph.D. in Medicine. Will McNutt, a lawyer, multiple family apartment developer, and Marine Corps-trained Major in the Texas National Guard, is married to Michelle Glover McNutt, a public school teacher from Tennessee.
Get to Know Rabel
Rabel attends the Hockaday School in Dallas. She enjoys competing in basketball, among other activities.
As a 9th grader, she plays in her school’s Varsity Basketball team. Her interests include singing in the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Children’s Choir and horseback riding.
Her favorite summer activities have included helping out and working at a CrossFit gym and attending summer basketball camps at Davidson College and the University of North Carolina.
Idea of State Funeral for World War II Veterans
Rabel McNutt, originated the unique concept for a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient from WWII as a way to honor her Godfather, Walter D. Ehlers, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in Normandy in June 1944 following D Day.
The New York Times wrote the following on February 21, 2014, one day after he died: “Walter D. Ehlers, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his exploits as an Army sergeant in the D-Day invasion of France and came to personify the heroism of the G.I.s who stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, died on Thursday in Long Beach, Calif. He was 92."
Rabel McNutt had never been to a military burial, so her father, Bill McNutt, showed her YouTube footage of President Ronald Reagan and General Douglas MacArthur's state funerals. As they stood there watching, Rabel asked her father, "Are they going to have a large funeral in Washington D.C. for Uncle Ehlers and his friends?" McNutt, somewhat taken aback by his daughter's suggestion, responded, "They should!" Let's see what we can come up with."
The proposal to convince the President of the United States to designate a state funeral for the last Congressional Medal of Honor holder from World War II came from the mouth of a child. This funeral would be a fitting send-off for a hero and a chance to remember the 16 million men and women who wore the uniform throughout WWII.
The Root Cause
Today, 35 million American families can trace a parent, grandparent, or close relative to those who defeated Nazism, Imperialism, and Fascism, giving us the nation we have today. Only around 300,000 of the 16 million men and women who wore our country's uniform are still alive at this time. This idea would honor all whom journalist Tom Brokaw called “the Greatest Generation.”
The attempt was made to secure this honor because four Medal of Honor legends from WWII were still alive when the non-profit started in 2017. This number quickly dwindled to one, Hershel “Woody” Williams. It is important to note that during World War II, 474 Americans received our nation's highest military distinction.
The efforts of the non-profit reached culmination on July 14, 2022, when Woody Williams was given the honor of laying in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda. He was the first enlisted member of the United States military to receive this honor.
"This is really a final salute to the greatest generation and one that all 35 million American families will take great pride in when Woody and his remains are honored under the dome of our Capitol," Bill McNutt said.
"The approximate 400,000 remaining veterans of the Second World War will benefit from a State Funeral in Washington D.C. for the final Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from World War II” Said State Funeral for World War II Veterans, Rhode Island State Chairperson Matthew Elias.
Making the Idea a Reality
State Funeral for World War II Veterans launched a nationwide petition drive on Labor Day 2017 to persuade Congress and the President to designate a state funeral in Washington, D.C. for the last surviving Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from WWII.
The notion quickly became a national cause, with volunteer initiatives taking place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result was 16 state legislatures passing resolutions; 15 congressional delegations writing letters of support; 11 state governors writing to the White House; the American Legion unanimously supporting us at their 100th convention; and the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Marine Corps League, the National World War II Museum, the Nation Medal of Honor Museum, and many other patriotic groups contacting their Washington representatives and state governors.
Mr. Williams was given a state funeral in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol on July 14, 2022.
Rabel collaborated with state chairs, veteran organizations, and finally Senator Joe Manchin and Congressman Jake Ellzey to organize a countrywide petition drive in order to achieve their goal. She personally wrote letters to many individuals, including Presidents and their families in order to make the idea a reality.
Medal of Honor Recipient Don Ballard and State Funeral for
Rabel’s Letter to Ivanka Kushner
Rabel’s Letter to First Lady Biden
Rabel McNutt’s Views
“I learned that the power of a good idea, even from a young person, can spread across the entire country and change history. Veterans and patriotism unite people of different races, localities, and political views. I am glad that Mr. Williams’s funeral was able to honor the 35 million plus American families who have or had a parent, grandparent or other family member who fought in WWII. This National Funeral was truly the perfect way to give a final salute to the Greatest Generation.”
"I was 7 years old when I had the idea of having a national funeral for Uncle Walter Ehlers’s friends. Our non-profit started truly as a family endeavor and grew into a true organization. We have so many volunteer and state chairmen helping us out. We are recognized in all 50 states."
“This National Funeral would never have been achieved without the help of countless people. My dad and I set the ball in motion, but it was many, many volunteers who passed it along and got letters from their state legislatures, governors, and congressional delegations. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to work with each and every one of them.”