Giving a Proper Farewell, Military Funeral Honors

FRESNO, Calif. During the last decade funerals with military honors have been ever present here in the Central Valley; whether at the National Cemetery in Merced County or in numerous Valley community cemeteries.

They are being laid to rest with an Honor Guard, a flag draped coffin, taps and often with a salute of gunfire. This service is available regardless of age or duty assignment is it in peace or in war. Every veteran who served honorably in any branch of military service is eligible at no cost what so ever says Sgt Carl Trujillo. He's on active duty with the California National Guard with a special detail, "It's our goal for every veteran, regardless of how long they spent in the service, is to award those final military funeral honors that they've earned."

Here in California the National Guard provides these funeral honors at more than 10-thousand funerals a year. But each family needs to have their Veteran's discharge papers that includes the so-called DD214 form. Once that form is provided to a funereal director arrangements with the state honor guard can be made.

Charlie Waters served in Korea and supports the military honors that are available for all vets, "The flag will be furnished, and everything will be furnished. It's important." But this older Marine veteran suggests you look for that paper work now ... don't wait to find it, "The veteran is usually very proud and has kept his DD214. It may be an old piece of paper now but you need that."

For many veterans their service is a source of great pride and that includes those whose job it is to offer this final service to their fellow veterans says Sgt. Trujillo, "To give them that last rite, that last honor means a lot because it's something we all share."

An honor and a gift from the nation for services rendered to their country. If you need help to find that paperwork or want to know more about the California National Guard's services check out the websites listed with this post. Reminder what that Marine said, "Do it now, don't wait."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
California National Guard Website - Military Honor Guard Services
http://www.calguard.ca.gov/g1/Pages/vhp-contacts.aspx

DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents
http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/dd-214.html

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