FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – According to the U.S. Veteran Administration Office 430 veterans die each day.
Last year members of the Veterans Honor Guard in Florence noticed the number of volunteers weren’t matching with the number of veteran funerals they were attending, so they had to cut back on helping with some veteran funeral services.
During each funeral service volunteers honor veterans with a folding of the American flag, the playing of taps and presenting the family of the veteran who died with three casings that represent “duty, honor, and country.”
During their first year the Veterans Honor Guard helped only 12 funerals.
In 2014 the group attended 196 funerals throughout the Pee Dee.
Veterans Honor Guard volunteer and veteran James Leslie says out of 37 people on the current roster only 15 actively participate.
Leslie says volunteers they have now are about 70-years-old and older, so it’s difficult for them to stand 30 to 45 minutes for the ceremony, especially in the summer months.
“Obviously we are all veterans and are up in age including myself and people get sick and we lose membership that way. The younger ones have active jobs so they can’t always be there to assist us,” said Leslie.
Leslie says it’s important to provide those who served their country with a proper military funeral.
The Veterans Honor Guard meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the V.F.W. post 3181 in Florence.