Veterans practice for military funeral, plan to perform for stud - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Veterans practice for military funeral, plan to perform for students in Anthon, IA next week

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ANTHON, Iowa (KTIV) -

The military funeral is a final honor for our servicemen and women.

"It's a respect we give to all the veterans," Korean War Veteran Joe Harbaugh said.

"We've probably had a couple hundred," WWII Veteran Ralph Diamond said.

Diamond has been a member of the legion for 68 years.

"I have marched in front of Eisenhower, Truman on Madison Avenue in Belgium after the war," Diamond said.

Certain acts of respect come along with paying tribute to those who've defended our freedom, like the 21 gun salute, and that's what these men from the American Legion McNiff Post #389, representing all wars from World War II until now, are making sure they get right.

"We're all pretty rusty, we got guys up to 90-years-old in this thing, and a lot of them forgot what they used to know, myself included," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said military men and women learned the traditions back in boot camp. Now, him and his fellow veterans want to share them with students in Anthon, Iowa.

"I thought it'd bring a little togetherness and a little patriotism in our younger people," Harbaugh said.

"We hope it makes them better Americans," Diamond said.

And, the men want the ceremony to be perfect by the time they are in front of students next Friday.

"We need a few more practices. It certainly wouldn't hurt us," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said the main part of a military funeral is the flag folding and flag presentation ceremony to the family. The veterans didn't need to practice this part on Saturday because next week when they're in front of about 300 people, they will have a nationally certified military funeral instructor to do the flag folding for them.

"Thirteen folds on the flag, the first fold, it means the symbol of life, the last fold means the motto of, "In God we Trust," and all of the ones in between have a meaning of their own," Harbaugh said.

Each fold reminding us that those who are gone paid the ultimate sacrifice by defending our flag and our country.

The legion will perform on April 25 at 2:30p.m. at the Anthon-Oto School Football Field.

The public is welcome to attend as well.

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