The solemn escort of the casket. The sound of taps echoing across a silent cemetery. The dignified folding and presentation of our nation’s flag to a grieving family.
When a man or woman has faithfully served their state or nation as a member of the armed forces, they are entitled to receive certain honors. Among these are the final honors given to them when they are laid to rest.
The Kansas National Guard Military Funeral Honors team has performed these duties in honor of fellow Army veterans since 2007. As of this Jan. 1, the team has provided honors at more than 8,500 funerals. With an average of 1,300 funeral honors ceremonies performed each year, the team is expected to easily surpass the 9,000 mark in 2017.
And all military honors are done at no cost to the family.
“Not only is it our duty, it is our privilege,” said Rod Moyer, MFH coordinator for the Kansas National Guard. “These veterans gave up much to serve their state and nation. They deserve these honors and we are proud to conduct them for their families.
“Our World War II veterans are almost gone. Funerals for veterans of the Vietnam War and Desert Storm and Desert Shield are becoming more frequent. At times, the request for funeral honors are overwhelming, but we try to do as many as possible to give these veterans their due honors.”
In addition to funerals, the MFH team provides honors at Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other ceremonies that honor our nation’s veterans.
The Kansas National Guard Military Funeral Honors Program is comprised of six fulltime National Guard members and approximately 15 traditional Guardsmen from units throughout Kansas with teams headquartered in Dodge City, Olathe, Topeka, and Wichita.
In 2012, the Department of Defense mandated that veteran’s will receive, at a minimum, a two-man detail consisting of the playing of taps, and a flag folding and presentation ceremony. If a veteran is retired with 20 good years of service, or was killed in action, a Medal of Honor recipient, a command sergeant major or general officer, they will receive full honors of a firing party, the playing of taps, and a flag folding and presentation ceremony.