New York National Guard Honored 10,400 Funerals In 2009
(December 31, 2009)
TROY, N.Y. (Army News Service, Dec. 29, 2009) - In 2009 the
New York Military Forces Honor Guard rendered honors at the
funerals of more than 10,400 former Army members, mostly
from the World War II generation.
"However, there are still Soldiers being buried out there
who don't get the honors they are entitled to because they
or their families don't realize what they are owed by their
country," said Donald E. Roy, the director of the honor
|Members of the New York Military Forces Honor Guard move the casket containing the remains of Army Sgt. Dougall Espey from a hearse during his burial in Woodlawn National Cemetery on April 3. Espey was killed in Korea in November 1950 and his remains were identified in 2008. He was buried on what would have been his 80th birthday.
Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Abbott
The honor guard is comprised of New York Army National Guard
Soldiers who perform these duties in addition to their
military and civilian jobs. They provide funeral services
for former Soldiers at locations across New York.
When other services cannot provide funeral services for
their veterans, they can do that as well, Roy added.
All New Yorkers who were in the Army, even if they never
served in combat or finished a 20-year career, are entitled
to some form of military honors at their funeral, Roy said.
In order to spread that word, the honor guard will buy
advertising in the obituary section of The Times Union, an
Albany-area newspaper, in January to inform former
servicemembers and their families of the honors available to
"It's a test to see if they can get the word out to more
members of the public. If it works in Albany they will take
out ads in other places," Roy said. "Most funeral directors
are aware that military honors are entitled to deceased
But many family members fail to mention their loved one's
military history because they don't think they are eligible
for honors due to the fact that they didn't serve in the
military long enough, or because they didn't serve in
combat, said Roy.
The advertisements will remind families that their loved
ones are entitled to these honors regardless of where they
served and how long. The ads are being placed in the
obituary section because older people tend to read that part
of the paper regularly.
"It's very important that we render the appropriate honors
to military veterans, no matter if they served in a time of
war or peace," said Sgt. Jason A. Daniels, a team leader for
the Military Forces Honor Guard with the 108th Infantry,
stationed in Hoosick Falls, New York.
All former servicemembers with an honorable discharge are
guaranteed by law at least two Soldiers to provide modified
honors that consist of the playing of taps and the folding
of the flag, which is then presented to the next of kin.
"These modified honors are offered to the families of
veterans at no charge to the family or the funeral home, and
allow a grateful nation to pay final tribute to service
members who, in times of war and peace, stood strong in
defense of the United States of America," Roy said.
"Even if a member of the military served during peacetime
and never had the opportunity to venture overseas, it's
still very important that we render honors to them," said
Daniels, a veteran who served in Iraq.
"They were still part of the less than one percent of our
country who volunteered and put their lives on the line.
They took the same oath that I did," he added. The last
thing I want is for any Soldier or veteran to go without the
honors they deserve. This is especially important as the
World War II generation ages and those veterans die."
By Army Spc. Rachel L. Sanzo
42nd Inf. Div. N.Y. Army National Guard
Army News Service
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