U.S. Air Force veteran Joseph Walker died about a year ago in Killeen, Texas.

Unfortunately, nobody seemed to know much about him. When no family or loved ones came forward after his death, authorities classified him as an “unaccompanied veteran.”

Officials at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery announced on social media that it was possible no one would attend his funeral, except staff members.

In response, perhaps more than 1,000 did, indeed, attend. Marc George of the Christian Motorcyclists Association officiated the funeral. As he stood next to the flag-draped coffin, he said, “This is our brother, Joseph Walker. Today, we are not strangers; today, we are family.”

Attendees were a diverse group – young and old, some dressed in suits and others in jeans and motorcycle jackets. Altogether it was an outpouring of love from the central Texas community.

Walker was born in 1946 and joined the military when he was 18. He served in the Vietnam War from September 1964 until September 1968. George noted that not much else was known about Walker, including his rank.

However, he continued, “It doesn’t matter, because once upon a time, like a lot of us other vets, he signed a blank check for our nation.” Although no one seemed to know him, a determined group of people wanted to be sure no one forgot.

Moses admonished the people of Israel: “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deuteronomy 4:7-9 NIV).

As we observe Veterans Day, remember there are some things we must never forget.

— The Rev. Ron McClung, a former pastor of Owosso Wesleyan Church, now living in Indianapolis, Indiana, currently serves as associate general secretary for the denomination.

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