In what is swiftly becoming a widespread, patriotic tradition in the United States, thousands of compassionate mourners crowded into the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery to attend the funeral of a man they had never met.
“Please come out and attend,” read the post from the cemetery staff who facilitated the funeral. And come out, they did.
Nobody was expected at the funeral of Vietnam Air Force veteran Joseph Walker, who died at the age of 72. Authorities could not locate his family, did not uncover any links to friends, and had no idea whether Joseph had ever been married.
Local reporters were enlisted by the cemetery to help raise awareness of the veteran’s troubling situation.
— KVUE News (@KVUE) January 27, 2019
Nobody, especially a man who had served his country, should have to be buried alone.
Press managed to capture the attention of local people, patriots, sympathetic military veterans, and even some well-known national figures of importance. Texas delivered, and photographs of the event prove that Joseph’s life and sacrifice meant a lot to a great many people.
At Veteran Joseph Walker’s funeral the man that was going to have an unaccompanied military burial ended up with tons of love and support. With Tara Krzywonski, Luis Rodriguez, Mitchell Larson
Cars lined the streets and mourners poured into the cemetery in their thousands on Monday, Jan. 27 at 10:00 a.m.
CBS journalist Janet Shamlian posted a picture of the event on Twitter, captioned: “Killeen, Texas: A line of cars stretching for miles … mourners determined he’d get the send-off every service member deserves.”
Another attendee, touched by the proceedings, posted: “I’ve never seen this many people at the cemetery before. It was truly remarkable to see the respect and honor this gentleman received. Rest In Peace, sir.”
Killeen, Texas: A line of cars stretching for miles to attend the funeral of an Air Force Veteran with no family.. after fears he would be buried with no one attending. pic.twitter.com/IC5z7IlDjh
— Janet Shamlian (@JanetShamlian) January 28, 2019
NPR reported a touching speech delivered to crowds by Marc George of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, who officiated the funeral: “Today, we’re not strangers; today, we are family … This is our brother, Joseph Walker.” George spoke soberly and proudly from beside Joseph’s coffin. The coffin was draped respectfully with an American flag, in keeping with military tradition.
Joseph Walker served in the Air Force from 1964–1968. He was posted to Vietnam, where he accrued an excellent record of service. Joseph was deservedly buried with full military honors.
“We do not leave veterans behind,” insisted the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery. And it seems that thousands of compassionate Americans share their sentiment.
Veterans’ lives matter–be sure to like and share this article on social media, and let us know your thoughts on Joseph’s remarkable funeral attendance. Rest in peace, Joseph.