COMBINED VETERANS HONOR GUARD

Daily Point of Light # 2452 Jun 30, 2003

The Combined Veterans Honor Guard is a group of veterans (all Senior citizens) who provide military honors at veteran’s funerals throughout the Northern Part of Utah. It is his or her contention that every veteran who has honorably served his/her country should have a dignified and meaningful farewell. To this end, they provide their services on a volunteer basis. Every member of the group is over 70 years of age. They are all absolutely dedicated to making their services available to families or survivors of veterans.

At the present time, World War II veterans are dying off at a rate of 1,000 to 2,000 per day nationally. As the population ages, this number will increase drastically. Many of those served are from Utah. Last year the Combined Military Honor Guard presided at over 200 funerals in Northern Utah They average more than 5 funerals per week (20 to 25 per month). They often serve at two or even three funerals in a single day. They are constantly busy and their services are in great demand.

The group has a core of four to seven members with eleven total on call. The real dedication of these volunteers is shown by the fact that this group receives no formal funding. They are required to look sharp and professional at every service. They provide their own uniforms and the upkeep and replacement of them (dry cleaning alone is a large bill). They also provide their own transportation, gasoline or fare; provide their own music, ammunition and rifles as well as their own sound system and electronics. They require constant practice and must keep up to date on military etiquette, customs, etc.

They are called upon to perform in all kinds of weather from hot, humid days to bitterly cold snow and rain. They are always vigilant. They have conducted services from Downey, Idaho to Bountiful, Utah. The volunteer services they provide are given out of their patriotism, dedication to country and respect for those they honor. This is done despite the fact that the group as a whole is all suffering the frailties of age and physical problems. They all place their service to others above their own disabilities and problems.

Their services are totally non-discriminatory. Military honors are provided to veterans of every racial and ethnic background, all branches of the service, every religion. The group works closely with local undertakers and clergy. Every American should be proud of groups such as this.

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