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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2011 Digital Edition - Page 85
The Final Salute The Tri-State Veterans Honor Guard Ed Kohorst that is he exact words shown erected to the right, depending at the Lt. Col. upon the branch of serentrance Allen presents vice, have been spoken to the the American gravesite well over a hundred times to flag to the for each next of kin. grieving family members at deceased graveside services for honorveteran. As part of their ably discharged veterans, volunteer work, spoken by the same man; Gene the TCVHG teach Allen, Lieutenant Colonel, US students flag etiquette. Army, retired. “The presenta“on behalf of a grateful nation and the united states Army, this flag is presented as a tion of the flag is surely one of the most emotional moments token of appreciation for the faithful and dedicated service of your loved one.” of our honor guard’s service to the family. It’s right up there The American flag is “table-topped” with the 21-gun volley and playing of The Tri-County Honor Guard sees (removed from the veteran’s casket). taps,” says Lt. Col. Allen. to it each deceased veteran, regardless Col. Allen is a member of the Tri-State of rank or length of service, receives Veterans Honor Guard; a non-profit vol- full honors, including a 21-gun volley, unteer group of retired military who give folding and presentation of the flag freely of their time to honor deceased and taps played by a real person on a veterans. To qualify for the service, you real bugle. “One of the main reasons only need to have served and been hon- the TCVHG was formed was to offer orably discharged. The Tri-State Honor the most complete ritual all veterans Guard was formed in 2008 when Col. deserve,” said Col. Allen. Allen pulled together 42 veterans to lead Now, three years later, the TCVHG TCVHG has received since their first a 4th of July parade in Royce City, Texas. has 56 veterans and five non-vet volun- funeral was carried out in January 2009. The following week, 12 of those veterans teers as members, totaling 645 military met again and discussed how they might years served. They have provided com- Strong Emotions form a unit to honor deceased vets. The fort and expressed the Nation’s gratiThe sincerity and emotional comidea of an honor guard carried the day. tude to more than 150 grateful families. mitment that defines the impact of the It was determined the service should “Thank you so much for the tribute honor guard ceremony upon the famiextend beyond the confines of Royce you paid to our mother at her funeral lies and the guard itself was apparent City. Three counties seemed achievable, in Arlington on January 6. She took when Col. Seligman was asked to recall and so, the Tri-County Veterans Honor great pride in her service with General a most memorable graveside service. Guard was declared fit and ready for MacArthur in the Philippines during He thought for a moment then began to duty. That decision was fortified by the WWII, and your honor guard would have describe a particular day he recalled. As discovery that honor guard services for pleased her immensely.” J. and P.M. he spoke, tears welled up in his eyes. It veterans being performed by the local “Thank you so much. What you do was clear that days, weeks, even months government entity, simply did not have ministers to people who are grieving. later, the shared grief remained. the resources to fully demonstrate the No words can describe what a mighty “This is not an easy task to perhonor our veterans deserved. blessing it was to have Dad’s sacrifice form,” stated Col. Allen. “Us men and honored in such a beautiful way.” K.M. women of the TCVHG bear a heavy A Real Need “Thank you for your service and burden each time we go out. And it “A government-sponsored unit your willingness to give of your time sometimes is a burden that is not easily would only provide up to three soldiers, to honor my father. I pray that God will shed,” he concluded. and taps would be played on a por- bless each of you.” A.C. Dewayne Cain, President and table boom-box,” said Norm Seligman, These are just a few of the hundreds Founder of Rest Haven Funeral Homes Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, retired. of letters and calls of appreciation the Continued on page 95 “Tri-County Veterans Honor Guard has enough members that we show up with no less than eight to 12 uniformed soldiers. We erect a ‘vigil’ — a helmet, web belt and dog tags placed upon a 1903 Springfield rifle with bayonet stuck into the ground behind a pair of combat boots. It’s the first thing The TCVHG The rifle squad the family sees when arriving for the leading the awaits the arrival 2010 Veterans burial,” Lt. Col. Seligman said. of the deceased veteran. Day Parade in Frisco, Texas. T The vigil WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM 85