The gift of service

Terry Garlock's picture

In this season of gifts, there is one steadily given throughout the year, little noticed except by families in mourning. Bo Hill, Bill Camper, Al Hogg, Joe Bowler and Stony Lohr, all members of Peachtree City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9949, provide honor guard service at local funerals for veterans.

The number of funerals simply overwhelmed military resources available, so these men stepped up to fill a need. They attended Air Force honor guard training, they pay careful attention to being impeccably uniformed at funerals, and they continually practice to ensure they do it right when the time comes. Anyone who tries will know that folding the flag into a tight triangle is an acquired skill.

Usually a funeral requires three of these men, two to fold the flag and one bugler, and of course one of the folders presents the flag to the family. Since professional buglers are few, and since a funeral service is no time for the struggles of amateurs, they use a special bugle with push-button electronics to play “Taps” sweet and clear. With the bugler standing a short distance from graveside, it even seems he is actually playing the instrument.

Voluntarily formed in 2006, this group of men have delivered graveside honors at 69 funerals so far. Families appreciate the honor of a flag-draped coffin, delivery of a properly folded flag and the traditional playing of “Taps” to acknowledge service to our country. On occasion they fulfill a special request, as they did at one funeral in which the deceased had asked for a volley fired from an M-1 Garrand rifle.

This is a special salute of thanks for the service these men provide, and the fine example for our youth.

[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen. His email is terry@garlock1.com.]