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Hundreds attend funeral for World War II veteran without loved ones

Gene Baker memorial, Oct. 6th 2016, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

EAGLE POINT, Ore. -- More than 300 people stood together in silence. The grounds were filled at the Eagle Point National Cemetery.

Some, like Vietnam veteran Dale Liebes, wanted to support a brother in uniform. Harold 'Gene' Baker, a veteran who recently passed away at the age of 91, didn't have any close friends or family.

"To honor a fellow servicemen. It kind of broke my heart...you know he had nobody around him, that he knew when he passed away," Liebes said.

Others, like members of the Old Guard, try to be there for as many veteran funerals as possible.

"They really go out of their way to take care of our veterans. You know it's something that we do normally is come here and lay our veterans to rest. Especially the ones that don't have anybody," Trueman with the Old Guard said.

The ceremony included a rifle salute and a motorcade processional, as well as planes from the Rogue Valley Flying Club flying in the "Missing Man Formation". Baker had made his own funeral arrangements with the Chapel of the Valley in Grants Pass. Since Baker's story has spread, the chapel has received flowers from across the country.

"I don't know if any person could expect this type of outpouring. Any individual. It just shows how much our community and our nation cares about our veterans and our military," director Leila Bradish said.

The ceremony closed to the sound of bagpipes. Former veteran Douglas Terrel said he was touched by Baker's service.

"I don't believe all these people here are veterans. But we're all Americans," Terrel said.

Chapel of the Valley said Baker was a happy, silly, humble man. A man proud to serve his country.


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