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The Honor Guard with American Legion, Post 229 in Madison participates in public activities around Madison and North Alabama. CONTRIBUTED

American Legion Honor Guard adds decorum, patriotism at events

MADISON – Members within American Legion, Post 229 have volunteered to participate in a small group that promotes the organization’s patriotism and tradition of honor for military veterans.

The Honor Guard for Post 229 was organized in November 2019. The team has provided military honors at more than 40 funeral services across Madison County.

“Military branches currently provide limited funeral services for veterans. (Their participation) is based on availability of personnel,” Jean Downs said. Downs serves in the Madison Honor Guard and as Auxiliary Unit President for Post 229.

These funeral services include a two-person uniformed detail to fold the burial flag and present it to the family. “The Post 229 Honor Guard augments this service with a rifle detail that fires a three-volley salute and the playing of ‘Taps,’ or the Honor Guard can provide the entire service, if requested,” Downs said.

Madison Honor Guard Commander Robert Kirby coordinates the guards’ services with the Huntsville American Legion, Post 237 team. These two Honor Guard teams work together regularly to provide graveside services.

“The American Legion considers it an honor to provide these services to our veterans,” Kirby said. “We know the sacrifices they have made in the service of their country, and we know how important it is to the families as well.”

Members in the Honor Guard represent all service branches of the military. Many Honor Guard members are combat veterans and have served in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Currently, the Post 229 Honor Guard has 12 members and welcomes other veterans that are interested in joining the American Legion and being part of the Honor Guard,” Downs said. “All uniforms and equipment are provided. The only expectation is to give your time to honor our veterans.”

Any service member who has been honorably discharged is eligible for this service. To request support from the Honor Guard, contact the funeral home or contact Robert Kirby directly at 256-652-4327.

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