VFW Honor Guard

The Wilmington VFW Honor Guard~~~Who are they - What are they

By Mr. Rodney Hamon

(1932-2013)

The first question is easy enough to answer they are your friends and neighbors, the local pastor, the farmer, power plant operator, the construction worker and little league umpire, postal worker and geologist. The ties that bind these men together is that they all are Veterans of the Foreign Wars from WWII to Iraq. Some are recipients of the Silver and Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts and Combat Infantryman's Badge, and President Unit Citations. Hero's all in the eye's of their comrades.

What are they takes a good deal more explaining. They came home to raise families and help build our nation to become the most powerful country in the world but that wasn't enough, something else was needed to fill that empty place in their soul. Too many friends and comrades had been left behind in the fields of a dozen countries who had not been afforded the Military Honors that was rightfully theirs.

Born from a need to recognize the passing of a brother-in-arms a Honor Guard was formed by the Wilmington Post 5422 Veterans of Foreign Wars. Their mission, Perform a Military Funeral service that will include a rifle volley, taps and the presentation of a folded flag to the surviving loved one of the veteran, either at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery or in our local cemeteries. And in addition, perform a public service when asked to do so, to include posting and retrieval of the National colors at certain ceremonies, raising of the colors at baseball games, display the colors in parades, perform flag education services for school and scout groups, honor local returning war veterans and to provide that service which may require a Military Honor Guard.

The men of the Honor Guard past and present have performed their duties with outstanding loyalty, in the dead of winter or the scorching heat of summer, asking of the veteran neither creed nor color. Ask a dozen Guardsmen why they do what they do and you are likely to get a dozen different answers. Ask them what they did in the war and you will get no answer. These men are dwindling in numbers, ranging in ages from 45 to 86. New recruits are difficult to come by, many would like to perform, but it's difficult to take a day off from work in the present environment, waiting till they retire to become full time members of the Honor Guard may be too late.

It has been noted that most resolute has shed a tear at the wall of the young, when taps was played at the passing of a grandfather, but they perform among markers in stone in a field of honor.

Honor Guard Video.MOV

WILMINGTON VFW POST 5422 HONOR GUARD MEMBERS

James Chappell, Earl Folkestad, Leonard Friddle, Ray Genis, Ollie Kelly, Fred Koch, Fred Moffatt, Merle Morris,

Gary Skubic, William Zimmer, Andrew Galatte, Dale Fraher, Jerry Siebersma, Tom Zettergen

The Wilmington VFW Post 5422 Honor Guard does services at The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL every Wednesday.

If you would like the Honor Guard to do a service., Contact: Cathy at 708-821-6397.