There is always someone in Brevard County ready and willing to assist or honor veterans, including at the end of life.
The North Brevard Honor Guard members dedicate their time to rendering military funeral honors whenever they are called. And they are called often.
The 28 men and women of the group have served at more than 35 funerals in the first two months of this year in Brevard County, many of them at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery in Scottsmoor.
The North Brevard Honor Guard members are from American Legion Post 1 and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Titusville. They all volunteer to share in the duties that include gun volley and taps.
Not all members are veterans but are closely related to veterans. Some, like Rob Lessard, whose father served in World War II, are members of the Sons of American Legion or American Legion Auxiliary.
They all participate because they want to make sure all veterans are given the tribute they deserve.
“It’s an honor to do,” Lessard said. “The veterans deserve it.”
There are military honor guard in the different branches of the military that send members to funerals.
Honor guard detail for burial of eligible veterans consists of at least two members of the military. One must be from the veteran’s service branch. The team performs a ceremony that includes the playing of taps and folding and presenting the American flag to the next of kin.
In the past year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, some of the military honor guards sent to the area have been the two-member teams. Members of the North Brevard Honor Guard and other volunteer veterans’ groups have filled in, which has greatly increased their participation in recent months.
Lessard usually gets the calls from funeral homes or from family members of deceased veterans. He sends out an email call for volunteers. Sometimes, they have a few days to plan. Other times, it is just a day’s notice to serve at a funeral at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery or other cemeteries in Brevard County.