Honor Guard serves Chanute veterans, families
American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars and auxiliary members all participate in the Chanute Honor Guard.
Coordinator Ken Cushman explained that the primary purpose of an Honor Guard is to provide funeral honors for deceased veterans.
An Honor Guard may also serve as the guardians of the “National Ensign” or colors.
“We present our nation’s colors for various ceremonies and official state functions,” Cushman said.
“Additionally, the Honor Guard serves as ambassadors to the public, presenting a positive image of their service to the country.”
Honor Guard members include American Legionnaires, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Riders, American Legion Ladies Auxilliary and Veterans of Foreign Wars ladies and men’s auxiliaries.
Cushman explained that Congress made it mandatory for the Department of Defense to send out an Honor Guard if the family requests, but there are not enough personnel to keep up with all the requests and so local Honor Guards are a necessary service.
A full Honor Guard has 14 personnel: nine to handle the rifles, two to protect the flag and post colors, a sergeant at arms and a chaplain.
At times the Chanute Honor Guard does not have a full crew.
“When we are requested, we present colors at football games, baseball games and parades,” Cushman said. “But it is most profound and a notable function when we perform the military honors with seven men firing three volleys.”
The Honor Guard also visits veterans in nursing homes on Valentine’s Day, presenting a short program and a certificate of service. Cushman thanked Penny Galemore with Ravin Printing for her help in producing the certificates.
“We have met so many deserving veterans who are heroes,” Cushman said.
“We visit them and shake their hands. Our greatest honor is to be able to honor and serve at their services.”
Cushman said that they provide services for free, though they do accept contributions if the family members want to, using the money for uniforms, devices and flags.
“It is our privilege to give last honors to our departed comrades,” Cushman said.
The Honor Guard has dedicated individuals who all take their duties seriously, Cushman said. Veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam have all served on the Honor Guard.
“We recently had a WWII member retire from the unit who served over 50 years, another WWII member who served over 20 years, and my deceased brother who served over 50 years,” Cushman said. “Chanute is very fortunate to have such dedicated people to perform this service.”
Cushman said he has been honored to spend 22 years serving in the military and to coordinate the Chanute Honor Guard.
Arrangements to have the honor guard may be made by the local funeral home.