The Stoddard County Honor Guard

Oct 8, 2012

It seems like Almost Yesterday that the Stoddard County Veteran’s Honor Guard was formed. A suggestion of a veteran and long-time resident of Bloomfield, Missouri, Jerry Elder, whose motivation was the October, 2003 dedication of the Bloomfield Veterans’ Cemetery.

In anticipation of regular funeral services at the 67 acre cemetery at the southern edge of Bloomfield, Elder recognized the need for an honor guard to serve at regional ceremonies and veterans’ funerals.

Fifteen veterans and residents of the county came together to prepare for a new form of service. They represented every veterans organization in the county:  Disabled Veterans, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. After appropriate training in ceremonial posting of colors, flag folding and volley firing, the group was officially proclaimed an official Military Veterans Honor Guard in the summer of 2003.

By October of 2003 the all volunteer honor guard was prepared and served at the funeral of John Harold, the first veteran interred at the Bloomfield Cemetery. A resident of Gray Ridge, Missouri, Harold was a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The honor squad, in full military dress, added an important aspect of dignity and respect to the services.

From that first burial in October of 2003 to the present time, The Stoddard County Veteran’s Honor Guard has presided at more than 500 funeral services. Eleven of the original fifteen members continue their dedicated service.

In addition to the important funeral services provided, the honor guard performs at a wide variety of parades and ceremonies throughout southeast Missouri. Since their inception in 2003 they have participated in nearly every Memorial Day, Veterans’ Day, Fourth of July, or military ceremony in southeast Missouri.