Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery/Facebook
It’s a sad day when one of our U.S. veterans passes away, but it’s even more heartbreaking when there’s no one to attend their funeral. Such was the case for Joseph Walker, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1968. Walker was 72 years old when he passed away due to natural causes.
The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery couldn’t locate any existing family members and didn’t expect anyone to attend his funeral. That’s when they called on the public to attend so that Walker wouldn’t have to be buried alone. “We do NOT leave Veterans behind,” the cemetery wrote on their Facebook page.
On the morning of January 28, 2019, thousands of Texans showed up to pay their respects to Walker before he was laid to rest. Walker’s funeral gained national attention after CNN anchor Jake Trapper and Senator Ted Cruz tweeted details about the service.
The Texas General Land Office has held almost 100 burials for veterans who had no one to claim their bodies. As a result, they’d often end up on a shelf after cremation. Karina Erickson, a spokesperson for GLO, told ABC-affiliate KVUE that proper burial for unaccompanied veterans only began in 2015.
The Wind Therapy Freedom Riders, which also has veterans as members, arranged a ride to the burial site. They were among the crowd of attendees that included active-duty service members, more fellow veterans, and average citizens. Despite the divide in our nation, one thing you can count Americans coming together for is honoring those who’ve fought for our freedom.