When a Legionnaire has been called to the High Command, and has gone to the Commander of us all...
Fort Hill American Legion Post 376 of Oxford, NY, performs funeral honors with their honor guards for fallen veterans - sometimes several ceremonies in a year. They are one of the only groups in Chenango County to do this and occasionally get asked to perform military honors for other towns in the area where American Legion posts can't provide honor guards. The American Legion service is nonsectarian, therefore, the service may vary in accordance with the religious belief of the deceased Legionnaire, and the wishes of the family are always respected.
Traditional grave site military funeral honor details include the silent folding and presentation of a U.S. flag (to the next of kin/or a friend of the deceased), three rifle volleys, and the playing of "Taps." This ceremony brings comfort to families and bestows dignity on the service.
The tradition of three (rifle) volleys originated from an old European battlefield custom. The warring sides would cease fighting to clear their dead and wounded from the battlefield, and then three shots were fired in the air to resume the battle. The honor guard often slips three shell-casings into the folded flag before presenting the flag to the family. Each casing represents one volley.
At least one member of the honor detail must be a representative of the parent armed service of the deceased veteran. The service representative marches slowly to the next of kin and presents the flag with the words, “As a representative of the United States Army (Air Force/Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard), it is my high privilege to present you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation this nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one.”
Variables requiring clarification includes the following:
Volunteer honor guards are authorized to read the 13-fold flag recitation or any comparable script;
Survivors of the deceased need to provide material and request it be read by the volunteer honor guards;
and Volunteer honor guards will accept requests for recitations that reflect any or no religious traditions, on an equal basis.
Fort Hill is not involved in making funeral arrangements or arranging burial benefits. Contact your local VA for details regarding: national cemetery burials for veterans, their spouses and dependent children. Legion.org states: Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, and a government headstone or marker. (source: http://www.legion.org/flag/folding)
American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Unit 376 memorial luncheons, arranged by the Funeral Luncheon Committee, handle the details of a bereavement meal. A memorial luncheon provides a nice low-key time to visit with close family members sharing memories together while “breaking bread.” Friends and acquaintances have an opportunity to offer their condolences as well. It can be very healing. This is a complimentary, honorary service the Auxiliary provides for paid members of the Fort Hill "American Legion Family" of Post 376. For more on this click here for the PDF brochure. While no fee is necessary, families often choose to make a financial donation to the Fort Hill Auxiliary as a sign of their appreciation for the luncheon services rendered by the ALA Unit. Donations are put in a special fund that is only used for future funeral luncheons (unless otherwise specified). That way, no Post 376 "Legion Family" member will ever be refused a memorial luncheon for lack of funds.
American Legion Boys' State Department of New York
Each winter the Legionnaires select three applicable high school boy delegates, currently completing their junior year, with help from the Oxford Academy High School Guidence Department. The students, sponsored by American Legion Post 376, may have one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Starting the last Sunday of June, they will spend an intensive week at SUNY Morrisville campus preparing for championship competitions in a variety of sports, learning about government at all levels, and running for office. While there, they'll meet and become friends with some of the finest young men in New York State. They'll be trained by Marines and mentored by American Legion counselors from business, education and legal fields. It's a week of citizenship and leadership training that could change their lives! In May of the same year, these three students will be in the Memorial Day parade and will also speak at the Riverview Cemetery ceremony. For more Boys' State Information - https://boysstateny.org "Represent!" March in the Memorial Day parade Memorial Day has become the most important day of recognition of our armed forces. It's a day to remember and honor our country's heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. Each Memorial Day the Fort Hill American Legion Post 376 organizes several activities -including five memorial services (at St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery, the Main Street Bridge, Riverview Cemetery, the NYS Veterans' Home at Oxford, and at Warn Ten Broeck Cemetery) and a big parade, that includes the "Pride of the Valley," the Oxford Academy Blackhawks Marching Band.