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By Angie Baldelomar

The American Legion ring team stood against the wall of the east side of the Oberlin Cemetery last Wednesday, waiting on a grieving family and friends coming from Norton.

As they waited, they planned the best place to position themselves near the burial site. A few flags were brought in. Half an hour later, the American Legion Riders’ Patriot Guard appeared on the highway, forming a military escort at the front of the caravan of cars.

Sid Metcalf, the “noncomissioned officer” in charge of the rifle party, said a set protocol governs how to do funerals. They usually do a rifle salute and present the flag from the casket to the family. They don’t do more complicated services, he said, mainly because they would need more people.

The American Legion was founded in 1919, after receiving authorization from Congress, as a patriotic veterans organization. It evolved from a group of World War I veterans to an influential nonprofit group in the United States. Today, it is one of the largest veteran organizations in the country.

Legion member Jim Miesner said that the Oberlin Post started in 1920. As part of military funeral services, the Legion Riders escort the family to the graveside, he said.

On Wednesday, the riders came up one by one while the people sitting behind them held flags. They lined up next to the few flag holders. Family and friends descended from vehicles and gathered around the grave.

The squad, lined up and holding their rifles waiting on the riders and family, got into position to re a three-volley salute at the order of Mr. Metcalf. After the salute, the bugler played Taps, also known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby” for a Civil War general who arranged the music, a traditional call performed in military and police funerals as well as during flag ceremonies.


The pictures and story were published on page 1B of The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on July 20, 2016.

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