Guard of honor, members of the color guard perpetuate the military heritage
When an honor guard fires a volley of guns at a veteran’s funeral, it is often a moment of pride and reflection. When the Color Guard slowly and reverently carries the American and Nebraska flags on a playground or high school gymnasium, it becomes so calm and still that you can almost hear your heartbeat.
Guards of color and guards of honor are an important part of our military rituals in America. In the city of Nebraska, two female members of Local VFW Auxiliary # 2634 are proud to be part of these guards.
Shelley Ramage and Nancy Giles have been involved with these two guards for several years now. They were recently recognized for this important service when Bonnie Gerlt of Omaha, former president of the VFW state auxiliaries, presented Ramage and Giles with auxiliary pins for their uniform hats as well as a special pin that Gerlt brought to life. chosen to represent its presidency.
“Being in these guards is an important job,” Gerlt told them during his presentation. “The VFW State Auxiliary is proud of what you do and wanted you to know that we appreciate your efforts. “
Ramage and Giles’ journey with the Honor Guard began three years ago when Talmage’s American Legion Post 246 began contacting local VFWs and VFW auxiliaries to recruit new members.
The Legion realized they were often short of the seven members needed to fill an honor guard so the volley of 21 rifle shots could be fired at a veteran’s funeral.
When Roger Kopf, member of Nebraska City VFW Post No. 2634, was contacted by this American Legion Post, he and his wife, Paula Waterfield, president of VFW Auxiliary Post No. 2634, knew that Giles and Ramage might be interested.
The two auxiliary members of the VFW were quickly recruited and joined both the Honor Guard and the Color Guard.
Ramage and Giles both have strong military backgrounds. Ramage, whose hometown is Monrovia, Calif., Spent five years in the military, from 1988 to 1993. She met her future husband, William Ramage, from Nebraska City, while they both served in Fort Drum in New York. Eight years ago, they brought their family back to his hometown.
Nancy Giles is from Bainbridge, Washington, and is married to Roy Giles, a 24-year-old Navy veteran. Nancy has spent the last 10 years of Roy’s naval career traveling the country with him.
In 2003, they moved their family to Nebraska City after Roy retired from the Navy and took a job at the Cooper Nuclear Power Plant in Brownville.
In recent years, the two women have participated in the guard of honor of 7 people at a dozen veterans’ funerals in this region.
Being part of the guard of honor at the funeral of veterans is important to Giles.
“I think these veterans deserve the respect given to them at their funeral,” she said. “We must defend those who can no longer defend themselves. This is their last call. . . their last honor while they are buried. It is important to remember that the reasons we have what we have are due to the sacrifices these people have made. I want to respect them.
In addition to participating in many Color Guard activities like football games, Memorial Day and Veterans Day rallies and rallies, Giles and Ramage marched side by side carrying the flags at the start of the last two AppleJack parades. .
They found that holding the large American and Nebraska flags upright in a strong wind can be a real challenge.
“These flags are heavy and with a strong wind behind them it’s a tough job to keep them upright,” said Giles. At the end of the parade, their arms may hurt, but the flags are still standing.
Ramage is very attached to her role in both the color guard and the honor guard.
“When I started participating in these guards, there were several police shootings all over the country,” Ramage said. “I’m glad I joined these guards when I did so that people can see that we agree on a lot of things in this country, and we shouldn’t let people divide us.” She added: “We can have a united country and present a united front. It gives me pleasure to participate. “
“My father was a Marine and my grandfather was in the Navy,” Ramage continued. “They both served in separate armies. But I did not do it. These things were not in place when I served.
She thinks this country has made a lot of progress in recent years. “We can move forward,” Ramage said.
Besides Ramage and Giles, Roger Kopf also participates in the guard of honor and the guard of the colors of the American Talmage legion. Kopf recalls that in the past, many members of the VFW and the American Legion participated in these guards.
He said that at one point, the American Legion Post 246 had 50 members who could be called upon to attend guards for parades and funerals.