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
Joseph Walker served in the US Air Force from 1964 to 1968, during the Vietnam War. He died of natural causes in November in central Texas. Walker was 72. His body was held for two months in order to notify family, but no family members were found. The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen expected no one to attend Walker’s funeral Monday besides the cemetery staff. They said as much on Twitter. People from all over responded. The Texas General Land Office facilitated the funeral. Marc George of the Christian Motorcyclists Association stepped in to conduct the service. Other motorcycle clubs were there, too. KVUE sent a camera crew. Veterans groups came. The people from all walks of life showed up to honor Walker.
One attendee put the number of people who turned out at more than 1,000. The crowd extended far beyond the plaza’s rows of folding chairs, out onto the pavement where dozens of rows of people stood quietly in the sunshine. Photos showed that the road leading into the cemetery was clogged with vehicles bearing people who wanted to be there for Walker.
Texas officials say Walker served during the Vietnam War, from Sept. 10, 1964, to Sept. 9, 1968, when he left the service with an honorable discharge. At the funeral service, George noted that little else is known about Walker’s military service, including his rank.
“I don’t have a lot of information, but it doesn’t matter,” he said, “because once upon a time, like a lot of us other vets, he signed a blank check for our nation.”