More than protecting our flag
For those in the color and honor guard at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW, Post 701, participating in parades and raising flags is just a small part of what they do.
Participating in military funerals and working around the casket more than 200 times a year are additional duties that fall under the position.
But for many, the duties of the job are a tremendous honor.
“It isn’t a job for us, it’s a privilege to do this for our fallen comrades,” said Gerald Gunn, captain for the VFW Post 701 honor guard.
Brian Coats, post commander of the VFW Post 701, who also is a member of the honor guard, said the job is something he cares deeply about and holds the honor guard at elite level.
“When our color guard and honor guard works, we hold it very, very special to our hearts,” Coats said.
“None of us in the color guard had this type of duty while we were active duty,” said Gunn. “This is all new to us and we just pick it up and go along.”
After returning home to Michigan from the Gulf War, Coats said he joined the VFW and found a bond with those in the Lansing area who also shared similar experiences in the war.
“It’s not about me, it’s about them,” he said. “I am a young veteran, per say, and I cannot forget the veterans prior to me.
“We can make things happen for positives, take care of our future. We are about giving back and making sure people are aware of our heroes and their families.”