NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - As tears rolled down his face, Patrick Byron listened as a pastor spoke about his friend.
“He was the type of person who was to himself but also he respected people and I talked about different things with him as far as family was concerned,” Byron explained.
Friends for 13 years, Byron was the only family Byrd had.
The 92-year-old passed away in a nursing home in June.
“He has a son that passed away. He had a sister that passed away. But other people I just don’t know who they are," Byron said.
After failing to identify any remaining family Newport News sheriff Gabriel Morgan discovered Byrd served in the army from 1945 to 1946.
So the department took action - knowing he had to be buried at the Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk.
“We wanted to make sure he was interned correctly and with the due honors that all veterans are deserving,” Newport News Sheriff Gabriel Morgan said. “If you’ve ever served, you’re my brother, you’re my sister and we feel a kinship.”
A kinship also felt among Byrd’s other military brothers and sisters as they paid their respected.
None of whom knew Byrd.
With no family left behind, Byron was given Byrd’s burial flag.
”I was honored, that’s all I can say,” Byron said.