KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Honor Guard provides a memorable tribute to fellow veterans who have passed on. They volunteer their time with military precision and compassion.

“It brings emotion to me almost every time,” said Stuart Hall, President of the East Tennessee Veterans Honor Guard.

On a fall day at Highland Gardens Memorial Park, members of the Honor Guard honored the life of 101-year-old World War Two veteran James Pointer.

“It means everything,” said daughter Jane Pointer. “My father planned his own funeral because as he got on in age, he knew that this day would come as we all do, and this was very important to him.”

“For his whole life,” Jane said, “and right to the last days of his life, if you met him, within a couple of minutes, the conversation would turn to his military service. He wanted to have a military career, but he got shot and sent home. He got shot during service and got two Purple  Hearts in fact, and they sent him home. He was disappointed that he couldn’t have a career in the military.”

An Honor Guard service wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of veterans who felt the call to keep serving their country by honoring fellow veterans who pass on.

“I hope that we’ve done an honor to the honorably discharged veteran,” Hall said, “and that’s what we’re here for.”

Bill O’Connell with the East Tennessee Veterans Honor Guard said, “I just felt a calling and an opportunity and it’s quite an honor. It chokes me up.”

In fact, this unit said it’s still able to fulfill its mission thanks to you in our community by answering the call the very first year we started Operation Honor Guard Day of Giving in 2017. We were able to help provide a much-needed van for the East TN Veterans Honor Guard. The one they had was in terrible shape and unsafe.

“We were at the point of-we didn’t know whether we were going to be able to continue,” Hall said.

It was a joy to be outside during the first few years of Operation Honor Guard’s Day of Giving, forced in the pandemic to change the way the telethon looked, but not our mission.

Through it all, you, our community, have never stopped giving.