Family of 'unaccompanied veteran' misses funeral while waiting in line with thousands that arrived due to viral social media post

Posted at 7:51 AM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 19:20:06-05

The family of an unaccompanied Air Force veteran missed the funeral while waiting in line with thousands that arrived after a viral social media post.

Joseph Walker, 72, was buried at 10 a.m. in front of nearly 2,000 people at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery on Monday.

The family did not know about the funeral until Monday morning.

"I turned the TV on and the second thing that came on the news was about a veteran being buried with no family and when they said the name and I saw the picture my heart just kind of dropped," said Angela Sheffield, Walker's stepdaughter. 

"They had done surgery on some cancer, and when they opened (him) up, it spread it through his whole...," said Plonie Williams, Walker's daughter.

Walker's stepdaughter and daughter shared they thought their father had been buried in December without them present.

"And so what we decide to do regardless of the circumstances or situation, is to make sure these families are honored with honorable and dignified services," shared Eric Brown, Deputy Director of the Texas State Veterans Cemetery Program.

The family did not make it in time to attend the graveside service, because the lines of mourners was too long, however, they were able to take home Mr. Walker's flag. The two said they are grateful for the outpouring of support.

"Thank you so much. God bless you all," said Sheffield.

Over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz asked the community to show up for the Walker, who was expected to be without family. 

All members of the Central Texas community were encouraged to attend.

The Texas Veterans Land Board works to ensure no veteran is ever left behind.

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