Post 16 Honor Guard is honored

Even after decades of service the members the American Legion Post 16 Color Guard continue to serve their country by honoring fallen veterans. On Sunday members of community took some time to honor them.

The organizer of the event, Campbell County resident, Virginia Bobbitt wrote a poem entitled ‘Silent Solider’ to show her respect for the Honor Guard; men she says often go unrecognized for their continued service.

After the reading of the poem, Commander Robert Cardwell thanked Bobbitt and quoted the saying, “Freedom is a not free.” He says this saying describes why the men of the Lynchburg American Legion Post 16 Color Guard preside over military services.

Several of the members have fought for freedom in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and World War II.

"There's a lot of history behind every person wearing that uniform today," said Kermit Ford Assistant Sergeant of the American Legion Honor Guard.

Commander Cardwell says the Lynchburg Honor Guard is one of the most active in the state.
Since July, they've presided over nearly 100 military funerals in Lynchburg and the surrounding area.

"This entails the chaplain's reading, the folding of the flag, we fire the three volley rifle salute, we present the flag and the shell cartridges to the family members," said Commander Cardwell.

All of the men of the Lynchburg Honor Guard are volunteers. And, they say being an Honor Guard member is a way to pay veterans proper respect.

"When you see the families at the cemetery crying, it's so sad," said Maurice Millner, Honor Guard for Lynchburg American Legion Post 16.

"It makes me feel very privileged to be able to do this for comrades, and I been around for about 40 years; and it doesn't get easier," said Assistant Sergeant Ford.

Bobbitt says when she went to the community to see if anyone would help honor the Lynchburg Honor Guard, people leapt at the opportunity.

It’s the community’s way of showing her gratitude and respect for men she says go unrecognized.

"Every time I attend one of these military funerals I'm struck by their age and how they continue to serve the country, even though the served many years ago," said Bobbitt.

Commander Cardwell says American Legion Post 16 has welcomed some new faces to their Honor Guard.

"The age for our Honor Guard had gotten up into the 70's and 80's, so now we have a few younger troops that have come in, and we are grateful for that," said Cardwell.

So the tradition and legacy of the Honor Guard will continue on.

"It is very important, because when we pass, the mantle and the torch must be passed on," said Cardwell.