The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen appealed for supporters to attend the funeral of “unaccompanied” veteran Joseph Walker in a Facebook post that went viral over the weekend.
“We are overwhelmed at all this love and support. We do NOT leave Veterans behind,” the cemetery wrote on Facebook after the service.
The line to get into the cemetery was miles long and initial reports indicated some 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles were in the line, KWTX-TV reported.
Walker, of Dale, Texas, was 72 when he died of natural causes Nov. 19. He served in the Air Force from 1964 to 1968.
After his death, his family contacted a funeral home in Austin to arrange for a funeral service but then could not be reached, funeral director Gilbert Cavazos told Fox News.
“We made every attempt,” Cavazos said.
At the cemetery, the large crowd stood in silence for a recording of Taps and the presentation of the military burial flag to Doug Gault, a representative of the Texas agency that oversees the cemetery.
“Today we’re not strangers,” Marc George, a member of the Central Texas Combat Vets Motorcycle Ministry Services, told the crowd, which included an Air Force unit from Fort Hood. “Today we are family. This is our brother, Joseph Walker.”
“Like a lot of other vets, he signed a blank check for our nation,” George said.