Honor Guard "Attention, Port Arms, Prepare to Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire, Present Arms". The NCOIC of the Honor Guard Mac McClure gives his crisp and clear commands to the team. These are the final honors that are bestowed on our comrades and we do our best to present them in a dignified and professional manner.
The Honor Guard is composed of a volunteer cadre of 20 men and women from VFW 2121 and Marine Corps League, Detachment 1093. Most of them belong to both organizations and are extremely proud to participate in rendering honors to any honorably discharged veteran within Greeley and surrounding area. It is our honor to do the honors.
The team has sweated, froze and been soaked while performing their duties but there is never a complaint or hesitation. Sometimes we are stretched thin when we have to perform funerals at the same time in two different locations but we always manage.
Normally the military service of a deceased veteran only provides two or three personnel for military funerals. They fold and present the flag to the next of kin and sometimes play taps. The Honor Guard performs a graveside ritual and fire the traditional three volleys of rifle fire. When the military service of the deceased fails to show we play Taps, fold the flag and present it to the next of kin.
Once or twice a month on Fridays, the Honor Guard travels to Fort Logan to provide military honors to give the Fort Logan Honors detail a respite. In a single day the team has provided honors for as many as 8 deceased veterans. It is a humbling experience to participate in this detail and very rewarding. There are times when the families have thanked us profusely for giving their husband, wife, dad, mom, brother, sister the honors they earned.
Many of the Honor Guard members are involved in many other veteran activities such as parades, color guards and ceremonies. But ask them what means the most to them and they will tell you that rendering funeral honors is the most rewarding.
A few things to be aware of. The next of kin has to request military honors when making funeral arrangements for a deceased veteran. The next of kin must provide a DD Form 214, Record of Military Service to validate the veterans honorable status. If your next of kin has this information available it will expedite the process. Veterans who have served honorably are authorized free burial in a National Cemetery. The grave opening/closing, vault, marker and perpetual care are provided by the VA.
If anyone wants to enlist in the Honor Guard, contact Mac McClure or Ray Delgado, both members of VFW 2121.