Military Taps is a bugle call most Americans will recognize by hearing the first two notes pouring from a trumpet or bugle. This simple, yet emotionally moving, melody expresses honor and gratitude in ways words fail us. The Honor Guard shares this bugle call at military funeral ceremonies often accompanied with rifle squad gun salutes to honor a deceased veteran. It is common to see the eyes of family members swell up with tears as the ceremony unfolds.
VFW Post 822, known as “The Flint Post,” is a home base for Honor Guards. Terry Ingram shared, “It was also the first Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Genesee County, established in 1921. C.S. Mott was one of the charter members. We’ve been here a long time.”
Terry Ingram has been the Captain of the Honor Guard for over 25 years. His dedication to honoring veterans is something he takes to heart. He is very humble about his service and dedication to honoring veterans, providing respect to families, and acting as a beacon of light to the crew at Post 822. Terry shared how his involvement with the Honor Guard started by volunteering to help a friend temporarily. However, it became evident quickly that Terry’s involvement was the glue to keeping traditions going. “I just got a real good feeling about being able to come out and do it. I enjoy being with the guys, and I feel like I am accomplishing something I never set out to do,” said Terry.
Terry explained the tradition of sharing honors for a deceased veteran. “We salute the casket, the military takes over at the casket, we line up, and when they give us the signal, we fire, play the Taps, the military folds the flag. After we fire, I pick up the shells and put them in a bag and present those shells to the person who gets the flag.”
Terry said, “January to the end of May, we have provided honors for 53. In 2020, it was a short season, but we did 119. We had three months in 2020 that we were down, and we didn’t do any.”
Neil Ketterer became a member of the Honor Guard around one year ago, and he shared how being involved is a way to share respect with veterans and their families. Neil said, “I was Commander at Post 822 before I joined the Honor Guard. Our Honor Guard members are getting up there in age, and we have had quite a few Honor Guard members who are not able to participate in the honors anymore. I stepped in to try to be a lending hand to them, to make sure we can keep going with our honors.”
As Post 822 prepares to celebrate their 100th anniversary, they are focused on gaining community support to keep these great traditions going. “We are always looking for volunteers to join our post or the auxiliary. If somebody takes a shining to members of the Honor Guard, we can try to bring them on as members of the honor guard,” said Neil.
It is essential to note that you do not have to be a veteran to join or volunteer. The post welcomes individuals who want to be a part of a supportive community for veterans and families. Get involved, support their efforts, stop by for a great burger on Wednesday or a fish fry on Friday, volunteer, donate, be a part of something that provides comfort to veteran’s families while honoring those who served our great country.