A Final Salute: Gloves On / Safety Off. History of the Fort Bedford Honor Guard.
William Roy Mock
Honor guards are primarily the only formal type of organization to honor deceased veterans and active duty military members. This type of organization is often referred to as a “living memorial.” It is a continual reminder that the freedom we have today is due to the service and sacrifice of others. Our veterans have risked their lives to preserve our freedom and way of life and should never be forgotten. Honor guards, through active participation, attempt to instill this appreciation in both young and older generations.
At present, any given community that has a local honor guard is considered to be fortunate; more than one, blessed. The honor guard participates in funerals, parades, special services and other ceremonies showing honor to the flag of our country, our military brothers and sisters, as well as, their family and community members. Perhaps, you, proudly, might have had a family member that served or is currently serving in an honor guard?
The “Fort Bedford Honor Guard” of Bedford County, Pennsylvania is an outstanding example of such an organization. This elite unit is considered to be one of the oldest veteran volunteer honor guards in the nation, based upon composition and the number of continuous years in operation, since its inception in June of 1946. The group will formally commemorate its 75th Anniversary in 2021.
Their mission is simply stated, yet powerfully enacted, “We honor the dead, by serving the living.” One of the most satisfying activities in the fulfillment of life is volunteering one’s services, based upon love and loyalty to each other, as well as, providing a sense of peaceful closure to family and friends. Quite possibly, this historical narration will provide insight, as well as, understanding of what might be involved, regarding the reasoning behind an individual’s participation.
The author, William Roy Mock served four years in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged. Mock is a retired high school teacher and accomplished county historian. He has been an active member and historian of the Fort Bedford Honor Guard for well over a decade.
2019. 8.5x11", Softbound, 206 pp