When Karen wrote about the upcoming funeral for Texas Air Force veteran Joseph Walker on Sunday, she was part of a swelling effort in the media trying to draw public attention to the story. Walker was just 55 years old when he passed and he was virtually alone in the world. The funeral home feared there would be nobody there to see him off and put the word out that one of our veterans was being laid to rest. At the time, I hoped that some of the local veterans groups and their families would be able to put together some sort of assembly to attend, but with barely two days notice it seemed as if it would be difficult.

Thankfully, that was not the case at all. In an almost miraculous surge of activity over such a short period of time, the word apparently spread like wildfire. Yesterday morning there were cars lined up literally for miles and the participation didn’t end with just the crowds of attendees. (CNN)

So many people showed up that vehicles were backed up onto a nearby highway. The ceremony started late to allow everyone to attend. Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, who dispatched units to assist with traffic for the burial, estimated there were more than 5,000 people there.

When the ceremony began, shortly after 10:00 a.m., dozens of US flags waved in the wind. Then three planes, in an apparent flyover, buzzed across the sky.

“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,”

How this was managed overnight is a bit of a mystery, but a flyover was arranged to honor the Air Force veteran. This video from Twitter captured the moment.

The traditional playing of Taps was performed brilliantly.

Rather than a sad, lonely event unnoticed by anyone but the funeral parlor staff, Mr. Walker was sent off with the full honors due to one of our veterans, even if little is still known about his life. The question still hanging over this ceremony is how Walker ended up so alone at the end of his days. Unfortunately, he was not in an uncommon situation. Recent studies have shown that Americans are increasingly growing old alone, particularly since the advent of social media.

Still, while Joseph Walker may have died alone, he went out in style. And now he will be remembered. You can watch the ceremony at the cemetary below.