ELWOOD, Ill. (CBS) – An honor guard is a special way to pay tribute to America’s servicemen and women at their funerals. Members of these squads donate their time. One of those volunteers is Larry Cavanaugh, and CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield says he’s someone you should know.
Long after they have put away their uniforms, a nation remembers how the Veterans of America’s Armed Forces served their country.
At the end of their earthly duties, there is a place for them at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood; side by side with those who did not leave the battlefield alive.
Vietnam Marine Corps veteran Larry Cavanaugh is one of those who volunteer as an honor guard.
When asked why he does it, Cavanaugh said, “Well, I guess to give back to our veterans. This is a special honor to all of us out here, to be able to do this for our veterans; because they gave for this country, and they deserve the best there can be to put them in their final resting place.”
At this ceremony, family and friends gathered to pay their last respects to Walter Hall Sr. — a veteran of World War 2 and Korea — he enlisted when he was only 16.
It’s a 29-degree winter day, but to Cavanaugh and the others, temperature doesn’t make a difference. They are here every Friday, weather notwithstanding.
In terms of size, the Abraham Lincoln military cemetery in Elwood is the nation’s second largest.
Lynn Berndt is this year’s commander of the cemetery’s memorial squad.
“It is to make sure that all of our veterans receive their final military honors,” Berndt said. “And I think that’s very important for the family to know how much they were appreciated, and to give them some closure also.”
Cavanaugh said, “Like I said, I try to give back. I feel very fortunate. A lot of my friends feel the same way. Everybody here feels the same way.”
Larry Cavanaugh: honor guard volunteer and someone you should know.