BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As we remembered our fallen heroes this recent Memorial Day it's a chance to salute the "honor guards" who usher service members to their final resting place almost on a daily basis all year round. It's an escort that echoes in eternity for all who served.
There are an estimated 5,000 honor guards nationwide. Their mission: to pay final respects to every service member they can. The Associated Veterans of Kern County Honor Guard performs about 400 ceremonies locally each year.
Al Garcia has performed taps thousands of times. "About 25 years. Started 1996," he says. Larry Romero has been at it nearly as long.
The numbers are staggering. Even more amazing, the number of active guard members that show up for all of them.
Most of the ceremonies these days take place at the Bakersfield National Cemetery and the tribute they provide is unforgettable for each family.
It's a busy schedule for this group. The logbook contains every name, of every comrade, they've laid to rest. A permanent record in a group that requires a steadfast commitment.
It's more than a uniform - It's a way of life. For those who sacrificed theirs.
The Honor Guard operates strictly on donations. You can support them by going to their Facebook page.
If you'd like more information about "enlisting" in their efforts, Larry says just show up!