Paying final respects to vets


The final farewell to fallen veterans has always included a formal folding of the American flag, the
solitary sound of "Taps" on a bugle, and the thunder of a gun salute. VIEW

has to be done," Wood County Veterans Assistance Center Director Mary Hanna said of the traditions
followed at veterans’ funerals.
But the pool of veterans to perform those traditions is drying up. While local veterans organizations
have always taken it upon themselves to honor their fallen fellow veterans, the membership of those
groups is gradually declining – leaving fewer people to pay final respects in the county.
"It’s becoming more difficult for the local posts that are dying off," Hanna said.
As a veteran herself, Hanna could not stand by and let the tradition die with them.
Not only are the military funeral functions proper, they are now required under federal law, she
"It’s the way our nation shows our gratitude," she said. "It’s the way of paying final
respects" to the veterans and to their families.
The group of volunteers, called the Wood County Honors Detail, is coordinated through the county’s
veterans assistance center. The center provides caps, armbands and coats with logos, plus pays the
volunteers mileage to the funerals. The volunteers, who are all veterans, fold and present the American
flag to family members, play taps and fire a gun salute.
The veterans assistance center works with local American Legion, AMVETS and VFW posts to perform the
"We can’t do it without them," Hanna said.
The group has 31 members, several who took part in the Post Everlasting ceremony at the Wood County Fair
Tuesday evening. They performed a gun salute to the 158 local veterans who died during the past year.

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