Air Force veteran Joseph Walker was laid to rest at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery on Monday. No one was initially expected to attend because officials were not able to locate any surviving family members.
But thousands of well-wishers gathered to honor the unaccompanied veteran's life after details of the service went viral over the weekend.
Walker served in the Air Force from September 1964 to September 1968. He passed away due to natural causes at the age of 72.
What are the details?
On Friday, the Texas Veterans Land Board issued a news release announcing the Vietnam veteran's burial, saying that "if no next-of-kin presents themselves," a board representative would "accept the United States flag on Walker's behalf."
Local station KVUE-TV reported that Walker might be buried without attendees at the gravesite, and CNN's Jake Tapper spread the news via Twitter — with thousands retweeting details of the service slated to be held in Killeen at 10 a.m.
No one is expected to attend the funeral for Joseph Walker, who served in the US Air Force 1964-1968.
His funeral will take place Monday at 10 a.m. at the Central Texas State Cemetery.
11463 SH 195
Killeen, Texas 76542 https://t.co/9J29luwDQC via @KVUE
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 27, 2019
Sen. Ted Cruz (R) also tweeted news of the service, and encouraged his fellow Texans to attend.
Monday, January 28
Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery
Killeen, TX 76542
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 26, 2019
How did it go?
Nearly an hour and a half before the ceremony started, NBC News correspondent Janet Shamlian tweeted out a photo showing "a line of cars stretching for miles to the funeral."
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
The service was officiated by Marc George of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, who said during the ceremony, "Today, we're not strangers; today, we are family. This is our brother, Joseph Walker."
Deputy director for Texas State Veterans Cemeteries Eric Brown told KCEN-TV that the number of people who attended the service was estimated to be more than 2,000 people.