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The crowd of people who attended funeral services for Dale Wayne Quick was more than he likely could have imagined.

Despite having no known living relatives in the immediate area to attend and honor his memory, hundreds turned out for the chapel service at Roper & Sons South and would later watch as his flag-draped casket was lowered into his final resting place.

Most of those looking on at Fairview Cemetery didn't know the Korean War veteran. But that didn't matter on this sunny Monday morning.

"People want to show their respect and reverence for the veterans who fought for our freedoms and our Constitution," said Pam Overman, who stood by while people gathered. "Everyone has their reasons; this is their way of saying thank you."

Veterans from a range of wars saluted in their civilian attire during the service's 21-gun salute, some sporting knee braces and others leaning on canes.

One of the honor guard members, Melvin Bates, has volunteered at funerals for deceased servicemen for about six years. He said Quick's veteran status garnered attention from the public.

In Quick's obituary published in the Journal Star, those in charge of arrangements appealed to the public to attend services on Monday. On Twitter, CNN anchor Jake Tapper was among those to share the request.

Clearly, many were moved to attend.

"He's a veteran, that's all that matters to me and to everyone," Bates said.

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Quick, who died on June 13, was born Nov. 20, 1927, in Leonardville, Kansas. According to his obituary, he was a retired maintenance engineer for the postal service and was a member of Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Quick's wife, Caroline, died in 1987. He lived the last 17 years at the Lancaster Rehabilitation Center.

Bates, a fellow Korean War veteran who also served in the Army at the end of World War II, said veterans of Quick's age often have funerals where their relatives are deceased or unable to attend. He said seeing Quick's funeral was encouraging to him.

"I expect I will be in the same situation," Bates said.

A few family members from out-of-state did attend the funeral service, accepting the flag from his casket.

Several others in attendance set themselves apart from the rest of the group almost immediately. Decked out in black leather vests with American flag patches, the Patriot Guard Riders rolled into the cemetery in northeast Lincoln on growling Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They're a staple at funerals of veterans, and Quick's funeral was not one to be overlooked.

The burial service was mostly quiet, as most bowed their heads throughout. The bikers created a circle around the group, most holding flags in their hands.

"We're always going to be there with our flags and our bikes," said Bob Bennie, a flag captain. "We want to show that those veterans are loved and they're appreciated by patriotic citizens."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7214 or eclopton@journalstar.com.

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