Don’t Wait!

Three Generations of Folands cleaning Jewish Veteran graves during Memorial Day.

By Mark Weiss, Post 474

DETROIT – JWV Michigan is proud to say that we have a great Honor Guard.   Our members are out in our community serving those that gave so much to us when called upon.  We have a great relationship with our local military cemetery, Great Lakes National Cemetery, and our Commander, Art Fishman, is always willing to give them a call when needed.

When JWV Michigan’s Honor Guard was asked to accompany an American hero and our friend to his final resting place after Memorial Day, we automatically agreed without a second thought.  Our members have sacrificed a lot, and somebody has to show up to do something like this for them.  It is one of the greatest mitzvahs you can do in the Torah.

JWV Michigan Color Guard.

However, he did not make it easy on us or his family to honor him.  The family could not find his DD-214, and eventhough the family insisted that he was a veteran, the Great Lakes National Cemetery insisted on having the DD-214 before going ahead with the burial.  In addition, the Post Office would not issue his flag without the DD-214 as well.  His family scrambled to find his paperwork, but could not find it within the 2 days of his passing.

JWV MI’s Honor Guard had to improvise, and with a little help of the funeral director at Great Lakes, we were able to hold a Memorial Service for him, and when the family found the paperwork (which they eventually did), he would be buried with full military honors.  At the Memorial Service, we said a prayer, had the presentation of the colors, a three-volley gun salute and the playing of TAPS.  The funeral director even gave the family one of his flags.

I highly recommend that you save your family and friends this heartache by being prepared for your funeral.  Make sure that you give a copy of your DD-214 to your family, your lawyer and your funeral director.  If you are the child of a veteran, make sure you get a copy of your parent’s DD-214 and file it away.  Do not put your family in this position!  It is heartbreaking.  Funeral directors and Honor Guards can only do so much.  Please, be prepared.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018