"We do NOT leave Veterans behind."

By Meghan Overdeep
January 29, 2019
Facebook/Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery

Joseph Walker served his country for four years during the Vietnam War.

The Air Force veteran from Dale, Texas, passed away on November 19, 2018 at the age of 72. Unfortunately, months went by, and funeral director Gilbert Cavazos was unable to get in touch with members of Walker’s family.

"We have to just have closure now," Cavazos of All Faiths Funeral Service in Austin, told CNN. "This gentleman deserves this."

Closure finally came for Walker this week, when Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen decided to go ahead and honor him on January 28th with the full military burial he’d been waiting for. Organizers couldn’t stomach the idea that nobody would be attending the late veteran’s memorial, so they took to Facebook with a request.

"We have the distinct honor to provide a full military burial for unaccompanied United States Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker," their Facebook post from January 24 read. "If you have the opportunity, please come out and attend. We do NOT leave Veterans behind."

They had no idea how quickly word would spread, but with some help from public figures including CNN’s Jake Tapper and Senator Ted Cruz, thousands heard the cemetery’s call.

And thousands showed up for Walker’s burial on Monday morning.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, who dispatched units to assist with traffic for the burial, estimated on Twitter that there were more than 5,000 people in attendance. There was even a three-plane flyover.

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"Today, we're not strangers. Today, we are family. This is our brother, Joseph Walker. I don't have a whole lot of information, but it doesn't matter," said a speaker at the funeral. "Today, we give him honors."

Irmgard Price, who drove in from nearby Belton, told CNN that it was an honor to be in attendance for Walker's burial. “All people should have someone there for them at their funeral," she added.

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