Volunteer organizations across East Tennessee perform military services at veterans funerals which is a well deserved goodbye for their grieving families.
Volunteers with Honor Guard give a military eulogy, rifle volley, playing of taps and finally the folding and presentation of the flag.
The Mynatt family had Honor Guard at their loved one’s funeral and said it was an experience done with heart.
“This is an award not pinned on your chest or stamped on your DD-214 form when you retire. It’s one that’s prevalent for all your loved ones and the last way to honor you,” said Kimberly Mynatt.
Her husband, Lt. Col. Fred Mynatt, was laid to rest in August 2016. His career in the Air Force lasted 33 years, and over that time, he accumulated nearly 15,000 flying miles as well as serving a number of deployments overseas.
“That’s the fiber of who he was. He loved America, he loved politics. This is who he was and so to honor him in that way, it’s like an award ceremony that he wasn’t present at,” said Mynatt.
Having the Honor Guard at Lt. Col. Mynatt’s funeral was necessary.
“It’s just ingrained in your heart and your mind that this person served their country and they’re being honored,” said his wife.
Mynatt says the service was one that meant the world to the family and touched their hearts, “It was just beautiful. The Honor Guard did an amazing job. For me it was really hard to watch them fold that flag and hand it to me.”
There were moments during the funeral that took the family’s breath away, but they’ll always remember the grace that was shown to their husband, father and veteran.
“I just can’t imagine a military service member not being honored in that way. It’s the biggest sacrifice we as Americans can give back to a military family,” said Mynatt.
Kimberly Mynatt also served in the Air Force for a number of years and says many years ago, she too served in the Honor Guard.
WATE 6 On Your Side is again partnering with Operation Honor Guard and Rose Mortuary to raise money for Operation Honor Guard in the second annual Day of Giving.
The event is set for Oct. 4 from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Volunteers will be collecting donations at two Rose Mortuary locations in Knoxville:
Broadway Chapel: 1421 N. Broadway Street
Mann Heritage Chapel: 6200 Kingston Pike
Donations will also be accepted at:
Claiborne-Overholt Funeral Home: 1106 TN-33 in New Tazewell, Tenn.
Smoky Mountain Opry: 2046 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Donations will be accepted online at WATE.com.