Since 1948, when American Legion Post 252 in Greenwood, Ind., received its first ceremonial rifles, our post members have been paying respect to our veterans by conducting military honors at gravesites, marching in parades and performing flag raising ceremonies.
We provide military honors for all veterans in our area if a family requests it. We feel that all veterans are entilted to full honors as part of their funeral services, regardless of his or her rank, service or whether or not they were American Legion post members. And on average, we — along with members of other veterans organizations — provide military honors for 155 funerals a year.
Our honor guard members include men in their 80s, men with illnesses such as dementia, men who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and men who've had a stroke or heart bypass surgery. Yet, despite these ailments, we've been told on several occassions that we're one of the best performing honor guards in Central Indiana. Our honor guard is not paid to provide military honors, but we do accept donations from the veteran's family members. These donations help us cover the costs of uniforms, rifle parts and repair, and travel.
Whether it's a beautiful spring day, a cold, snowy one or it's steaming hot outside, we're there to give the fallen comrade our very best goodbye — this is the main reason we want to be a part of Post 252's honor guard. As a final gesture, our team says "thank you" by providing a last salute with three-rifle volleys followed by the playing of "Taps." It is during these moments that I can feel the bond and unity we have for each other as a group. It's close to brotherhood.
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