When Rifles Fire and the Bugle Sounds
Since 1966 the Southwest Ohio VFW Memorial Team has been honoring local veterans with a final tribute to their life and military service and providing their families with a moment of unforgettable closure. Under the direction of Commander Kenneth Huber, the team of 21 veteran volunteers performed hundreds of Military Rites funeral services.
Families must request these services through their Funeral Directors at the time of making burial arrangements. Proof of military service, such as a DD-214, is required. The team does not charge deceased veterans’ families, and no team member receives any compensation for his or her services. While the services are free, the team does accept donations to help cover their expenses.
Huber said he’s gained a lot of friends through the team, and it’s given him a different look at
life. “There’s a lot of comradeship because we share a common bond. At one point in our lives, we all got on the bus to boot camp to be trained to go to an unknown place,” said Huber. He added, “When we bury veterans, we all think about those veterans as young people going off to war. And then, there we are with the honor to stand and say our final farewells. The families are so appreciative.”
The thank you cards the team receives are a source of continuous inspiration. One card read, “I wish to express our deepest thanks and gratitude for the honors the VFW Honor Guard members provided for our father. It was above and beyond our expectations and we were moved to tears by the entire service.” Another wrote, “Words cannot express how very much we treasured your memorial service for our father. Despite the freezing temperature, the presentation was unhurried, solemn, and lent dignity to our father.” And another, “We treasure the flag of the United States of America (That was presented to us) and the memories he shared with us of his service to our country.”
Huber commented, “When you hand that flag to the widow, widower, or family member, I think that is the most honorable thing you can do for a veteran. When the rifles fire and the bugle plays, it gets me every time. It’s gut wrenching.”
The Southwest Ohio VFW Memorial Team needs more veterans to join them to help provide the most rewarding experience one can provide to a grieving veterans family. If you are a veteran and are interested in joining the team, contact Kenneth Huber at 513-288-7429. firstname.lastname@example.org