SPOKANE, Wash. -- The first of two memorials for World War II veteran Delbert Belton was held Thursday afternoon.
Belton, 88, was beaten to death in the Eagle’s Lodge parking lot August 21.
PHOTOS: Family and friends attend memorial
Belton was buried with full military honors at the public funeral Thursday at Greenwood Cemetery. Hundreds of people from around the region attended the ceremony, as news of Belton’s murder has received national attention.
WATCH: Part 1 of Delbert Belton's funeral
WATCH: Part 2 of Delbert Belton's funeral
Delbert Belton’s family said the turnout at the service was overwhelming. They counted more than 500 motorcycles at the service. Family members said they could not thank the Spokane community enough.
“It was overwhelming, I just can't believe it,” said Belton’s nephew, Ty Bennett. “It's breathtaking and leaves me speechless this turn out. How many people just care in the community.”
Mourners reflected on Belton’s life and the unimaginable way he was killed. Yet, his death also brought loved one together. Belton’s family and friends said they are grateful for the support.
“It's just beautiful,” said friend, Ted Denison. “All these people came from all over and I think, I know, the family is appreciative. I know I am.”
Denison said Belton would have loved the service. Service members presented the Belton family with the American Flag.
“We gave him a great send off, everybody that's here,” added Denison. “You can't pretty much get more than what's here already.”
"I wanted to honor Shorty, he was a great, fun guy," said friend, Wayne Marshall.
Friends said Belton was always willing to listen. Belton was also remember for his love of fixing cars, watching professional wrestling, and dancing.
“He never sat out of a dance at all, if they didn't find him, he found them," said Mike Suryan Jr.
The Suryan family lived next-door to Belton. He added that Belton had more to do and more to give.
"I'm really going to miss him, he was one of a kind, you don't find many guys like him, he had a heart of gold,” added Mike Suryan Sr.
The local Patriot Guard was on hand, as well, to help secure the event. They hoped that would not be necessary but said they would be ready just in case. Spokane police attended the service to ensure it ran smoothly. Organizers said there were no problems or disruptions.
A more intimate funeral service for Belton’s family was set for Friday afternoon. The the public was also welcome to attend that ceremony at 2:00 p.m. at North Hill Christian Church near Post and Wellesley.
KREM 2 News will stream the entire service on KREM.com.