Over 1.000 people, including hundreds of bikers, attended the funeral of an unaccompanied veteran in Killeen, Texas – after the cemetery used social media to ask strangers to pay their respects.
After failing to reach any of his family members or friends, the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery asked the public to attend the funeral of Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker.
“We have the distinct honor to provide a full military burial for unaccompanied the United States Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker on MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery,” the post read. “If you have the opportunity, please come out and attend. We do NOT leave Veterans behind.”
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According to a chief onsite representative of Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, over a 1,000 people answered the call and showed up to pay their respects.
Luis Rodriguez heard about the call and passed the information to Wind Therapy Freedom Riders, a motorcycle club he belongs to. He also made sure to contact a few local news stations to spread the word.
The action took off like fire.
“This was the biggest service we have seen to date,” Douglas Gault, chief onsite representative of Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery told ABC News.
In addition to over 200 members of Wind Therapy Freedom Riders, hundreds of members of veteran organizations, as well as law enforcement representatives and many people from all over the country attended Joseph Walker’s funeral.
The “Unaccompanied Veterans” program was established in 2015 by the Texas Land Commissioner’s Office with one goal: to ensure all veterans receive a respectful military burial service. Before the program, the funerals of unaccompanied veterans were arranged by a county judge.
Due to all the media attention, the cemetery eventually found two of Walker’s family members at the last minute, and they were present for a part of the service.
Joseph Walker served the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Source: ABC News