KILLEEN, Texas — The solemn sound of taps played to memorialize another veteran during the 112th unaccompanied burial since 2015 at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.
Hundreds of mourners gathered, paid their respects and bowed their heads in prayer, despite the fact they never knew U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mary Lynn Werner.
Shirley Gideon said going to the cemetery is a peaceful experience. She's been married to a veteran for 31 years. She also said being there for Werner is the right thing to do.
"I am a spouse of a veteran," Shirley said following the service. "I don't think that we should let any veteran go home unaccompanied.
Werner served from 1978 to 1985. She received many awards during her years of service. In addition to her numerous awards, Werner was also an expert marksman with her M-16 Rifle.
"This is special, it doesn't happen too often," Greg Holland, a fellow veteran, said. "You're a veteran. You put on the military uniform and you decided to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the people that sleep under the blanket every night."
Eileen Parker, who received the American flag on behalf of Werner's family, said it was an honor to be there and step in for those who couldn't be found.
"It's a major honor," Parker said. "A lot of women have their time and service and some didn't come home, so when we look at this, it's a big honor."
Parker said a lot of women aren't buried alone, so Tuesday was a rare occasion. She said most are buried with their husbands, who also served.
"I hope Staff Sgt. Werner knows just how much we care about her and what she did for this country," Parker said as she clutched the American flag in her lap.
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