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With honor

Pennsylvania February 2013 -- The rendering of military funeral honors is a way to show our Nation's deep gratitude to those who, in times of war or peace, have faithfully defended our Country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful Nation can provide to a past or present service member's family. This honor is bestowed by various military units across our Nation, like our various Wings' Base Honor Guard.

Many of you may be familiar with your Base Honor Guard. You've probably seen them at various ceremonies, like Dining Outs, performing Color Guard duties and such. But you may not be aware that they also provide military funeral honors for local Veterans and service members, including many of our own service members, who have fallen. The Base Honor Guard's motto, "To Honor, With Dignity" is truly fitting of our own team of Airmen who volunteer their time to properly honor fallen comrades; a tradition filled with respect.
I was reminded of this recently after having attended two separate funeral services. Both Airmen passed before their time. One young Airman, who was in his 20's, had lost control of his vehicle late one night on his way home from work. The other Airman was a bit older and planned on retiring this year. He had been diagnosed with cancer just a few months ago. Although neither had been killed in action, both served their Country proudly.

Our Base Honor Guards stand ready, on sometimes very short notice and at times in very challenging conditions, to step up to the challenge in order to render proper and deserved military honors to fallen service members.

I know the families of these service members are sincerely grateful for the dedication and professionalism of our Base Honor Guard members. I know I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of them for their dedication and volunteerism. How well they represent us and the Pennsylvania National Guard! I also want to thank their commanders and supervisors for their support of these dedicated members as they support our Wings and communities. I highly urge all commanders, supervisors and every one of you to support our Base Honor Guards whenever, and in any way, possible. They cannot provide this honorable service without your support.

If you are highly motivated, maintain high standards of appearance and conduct, and show aptitude for ceremonial duty, you may want to consider joining your Base Honor Guard, and keep the tradition going, with honor.