American Legion Post 216 designates an “Honor Guard” as a unit that provides funeral and/or graveside ceremonies in conjunction with the local funeral home, or at the request of the Great Lakes National Cemetery. This unit may perform all aspects of the ceremony if there are no active military personnel available, or at the funeral director’s request after consultation with the family. The ceremony would consist of flag folding & presentation, playing of taps, and a rifle salute.
In most cases there will be active duty military available for the flag folding ceremony and the playing of taps. They provide the ceremony commander or leader. The post provides a Rifle Squad Commander and five to eight riflemen. The Post also provides flag bearers for the American, POW/MIA, Military Branch, and Legion colors.
The Honor Guard must present a professional and dignified presence at these ceremonies. Anything less dishonors the family, and the veteran whom we are honoring. The families are always appreciative of our presence during these services.
The Post 216 Honor Guard has a standing commitment to provide a Firing Squad for all burials at the Great Lakes National Cemetery on the 4th Monday of each month.
American Legion Post 216 designates a “Color Guard” as a unit that presents the colors at various public events such as parades, school activities, veteran functions, and patriotic programs. The color guard may be as simple as carrying the American, POW/MIA, and Legion flags. Or it may consist of a full color guard unit that adds all of the military branch flags, as well as Women’s Auxiliary, SAL, and Jr. Auxiliary colors. A rifle escort is always included for the American flag.
Flag precedence in both static displays and marching formations are in accordance with the regulations outlined various Legion and Military documents.
An example of a static display is shown below. The occasion for the static display was the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Salute to Veterans dinner at the Ford Conference Center. The State of Michigan flag was added to the display because of the presence of the Governor.