KILLEEN, Texas — The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery called for the public’s attendance at an unaccompanied Texas veteran’s funeral, and that call was heard around the world -- and eventually by his daughter.
Air Force Veteran Joseph Walker was laid to rest Monday -- and no one was expected to attend, but soon after finding out the information a crowd came out to pay respects.
The Texas General Land Office said Walker's daughter was "reunited" with him and met with cemetery staff after the service to receive the flag from Walker's casket. The office said she did not arrive in time to attend the full service, which is why she was given the flag afterward.
The cemetery said they did not know where his family is and they did not want him to be laid to rest alone, so they asked the public to attend.
"We do not leave veterans behind," the cemetery said on Facebook.
A member of Wind Therapy Freedom Riders also encouraged the public to attend.
"Let's show our respects to an American Veteran," Luis Rodriguez said.
The group of bikers attended Mr. Walker's burial. They met at Central Texas Harley Davidson in Round Rock and took off to the burial site by 9 a.m.
"No veteran should be buried alone," Rodriguez said in a Facebook post.
According to Karina Erickson, a spokesperson for the Texas General Land Office, proper burial for Unaccompanied Veterans began in 2015.
The government organization is approaching its 100th burial of veterans who have passed away with no one to claim their bodies.
Erickson said before, a late veteran's burial service was under the discretion of a county judge, which could result in cremation and getting put on a shelf.
Erickson told KVUE that Mr. Walker had a regular service set for the beginning of December, but for some reason, it was pushed back to the end of January.
Mr. Walker served in the Air Force from September 1964 to September 1968, including service in the Vietnam War.
His funeral will take place Monday at 10 a.m. at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.