Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day: Rifle squad honors vets with 57,000 goodbyes

Image: Jim McGee, a member of the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad

The volunteer squad ensures veterans get a proper final salute

“The bus stops on the cemetery path and the silver-haired men file out, sober-faced and silent amid a sea of white marble tombstones. Some carry rifles, some flags, a few hold bugles. They've all come to say goodbye — to a stranger.

This is their eighth funeral of the day. They have five more to go.

The men are members of a special fraternity of veterans. Two generations. Three wars. Survivors of places such as Khe Sanh, Chu Lai, Tokyo Bay, the Chosin Reservoir. Recipients of Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars. Now all together, offering a final salute to those who, like them, served long ago.”

PHOTO - Jim McGee, a member of the Fort Snelling Memorial Rifle Squad, salutes during a veteran's funeral at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Bloomington, Minn

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