AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin community is saying goodbye to Richard Overton.
He died the oldest surviving World War II veteran.
Cook-Walden Funeral Home held a public viewing from noon until 6 p.m. on Friday.
Hundreds of Austinites, many of them who didn’t know Mr. Overton personally, paid their respects.
Most of the visitors KVUE spoke with were veterans themselves.
"I just wanted to give him that last salute,” Army veteran Bobby Sneed said. "It's an honor to come and to see him."
Retired attorney Alexander Porter said he knew the family for many years and grew up with Overton's relatives.
“[I] did not know him personally,” Porter said. “Saw him on many occasions, but the most important thing is he's a veteran as am I, and veterans always honor and respect veterans.”
Porter – who is a black man – added that growing up in Austin was not an easy task for his generation.
“We were considered second-rate citizens,” he said. “Mr. Overton disproved that theory. When the call to arms and the call to duty came, he may not have [had] a choice and probably didn't, but he served and he served well.”
Porter himself said he served in the Korean conflict as a medical laboratory technologist.
Suvi Aika didn't know Mr. Overton personally either, but wanted to stop by.
"I always admired him. I wish I had met him when he was still alive," she said. "He saw so much history."
Ruben James Moore, an 85-year-old WWII veteran, also visited the funeral home.
"I was stationed in Germany,” he said. "I come to give my regards to him…for his long service…Living this long…And hope I can too.”
Mr. Overton's family said they are honored to have had so many people stop by.
They expect Saturday’s funeral service at 11 a.m. at Shoreline Church to be a beautiful ceremony.
Mr. Overton's family decided to place his World War II hats inside his casket, along with a bottle of Maker's Mark Whiskey under his arm and Tampa Sweet cigars in his shirt pocket and besides him.
The governor, the mayor of Austin and Mr. Overton's family members will be giving special remarks at the funeral. As well as the worship leaders from Shoreline Church.
Joel and Myia Salabarria are the pianist and singer performing "Old Rugged Cross" at the service. They said that even though they never met Mr. Overton, they still feel a deep connection to him.
"His life affects my life because he went to war for me, way back before I was even thought about so that I get to do what I get to do today," Joel said.
"We're gonna celebrate his life because he lived a long time, and he's experienced so...I can only imagine how much he experienced in his life," Myia said.
Mr. Overton will be buried at 2 p.m. at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.