Bismarck VFW Post 6947 was recently recognized by the Missouri Military Funeral Honors Program for its provision of military funeral honors for American veterans who have died over the past decade.
A certificate of merit was presented to the post in an afternoon ceremony by Jenny Fletcher, Missouri Military Funeral Honors Eastern Area coordinator.
“I’m presenting this certificate on behalf of a grateful nation as a token of our appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your members,” she said. “As of June 30, 2015, your organization has performed military funeral honors for 511 deceased American veterans since Feb. 1, 2005.
“I know that you have done more than that, but it’s a very big deal and I know you guys have been really active. I appreciate everything you do to make my life so much easier. I don’t know what I’d do without you. You are all great.”
Honor Guard Commander Dennis Mayberry replied, “Everybody here, I gotta’ tell you, everybody sitting in this room has gave their all for many, many years. I am proud to say we are called ‘the number one team.’"
Post members attending the ceremony in addition to Mayberry were Lindell Barton, vice commander; Melvin Fisher, Nelson Sinclair, Clarence King, Art Jones, Jim Loyd, Joe Sutton, Dean Sebastian, Joe Snyder, Jim Jenkins and Mike Greer. Post members Jerry McClain, Clyde Cantrell and Post Commander Joseph Cerchi were not present.
Since July 1999, the Missouri Military Funeral Honors Program has been a cooperative effort between the Missouri Army and Air National Guard, active components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, veterans service organizations, and funeral directors.
“Military funeral honors are the ceremonial paying of respect and the final demonstration of the country's gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, faithfully defended our nation,” said William B. Smith, Major AUS (Retired), Military Funeral Honors director. “The ceremony consists of, at minimum, the folding and presentation of the American flag and the sounding of ‘Taps’ by a detail of two uniformed members of the military services.
“At least one of the detail's members are to be from the parent service of the eligible beneficiary. Missouri veterans normally receive a three-volley rifle salute, sounding of ‘Taps,’ and flag folding and presentation.”
Smith added that deceased active duty, guard and reserve members, military retirees and veterans who served at least one term of enlistment and separated under honorable conditions are eligible for funeral honors. Active duty members and military retirees are entitled to additional honors.
“Military funeral honors are denied to persons discharged under other than honorable conditions, convicted of a state, federal or capital crime, or when circumstances surrounding the person's death are such that to provide honors at the funeral or burial of the person would bring discredit upon the military services,” Smith said.
Between the dates of July 1, 1999 and July 31, 2015, military funeral honors have been provided for 137,020 U.S. military veterans nationwide.