The precision of crisp steps, a solemn spirit, the touch that says your loved one was special. All of these attributes are part of the James Dickey Post 23 American Legion funeral detail.
“We do funerals for any military deceased veteran,” Susan Frasher of Post 23 said. “The funeral homes usually contact me and then I contact the crew and then we meet at the cemeteries and I always have a card that the detail signed for the family.”
That card includes a copy of the prayer and the eulogy.
“We also have a metal flag holder that I get from the Veterans Service Office,” Frasure said. “and we put that at the gravesite, along with a flag that we provide for the families.”
Frasure said she does not know what the future of the funeral detail is with less and less young members volunteering.
“That is something that even the Lucasville and the Minford details are having problems with as well as us,” Frasure said. “I don’t want to project that as a problem at this point and time but we could always use more volunteers.”
Frasure said the detail recently had four funerals in one day.
“I had to get two crews,” Frasure said. “and now I have a problem getting that many, so we certainly use more volunteers. And I might add that these are provided at no cost to the family and I hope that the funeral directors make sure that they tell the families that. This is the last thing that we can do, this farewell bid to our veterans who are deceased and it means a lot to us to be able to provide this service.”
Mike Phillips, Commander of Post 23, said the importance of the military funeral detail.
“We, as individuals, want to go to the cemetery for the last rites of that veteran and do everything that we can for him and to show our respect for the families,” Phillips said. “This is just something that we get in our heart and you’ll see the ones that showed up are the ones that’s got it in their hearts.”
Upon the family’s request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps.
“We have a little difficulty getting volunteers from time to time,” Phillips said. “But for the most part the veterans show up and there’s always someone there to see them off.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.