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Local Veterans Group Seeks Members

A local veterans group appears at military funerals to pay their respects during full-honor ceremonies. They are looking for new members.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Final services were held Thursday for William "Bill" Wilson. The 56-year-old served in Vietnam as a corporal in the U.S. Marines.

He received full honors during a military burial.

'We send our wounded warriors home," said Jerry Murphy, commandant of the Northwest Missouri Marine Corps League.

Murphy and other veteran volunteers from all branches of service organize and participate in the ceremonies.

"Symbolism of our ceremony is sending that veteran home for the sacrifices he gave for this country to keep it free," Murphy said.

Those who participate do it proudly, even if it's on a frigid day like Thursday, when wind chills were near zero.

"It's an honor to do this," said Jerry Kretzer, who served in Vietnam as a Marine.

"I don't care if it's 40 below zero," he said. "It's still an honor to put a brother away the right way. We was all there for the same purpose, to keep this great country, the United States of America, free."

Funeral homes recognize the importance of the military ceremonies and see how much they are appreciated by friends and loved ones of the deceased.

"It meant so much to those people to fight for our country and for our government and our military to pay their respect for their loved one is so important," said Todd Meierhoffer of Meierhoffer Funeral Home and Crematory.

Unfortunately, as time passes, the Corps is losing many of its active members.

"We are getting up there in years and we do need young blood to come help us out," Murphy said.

The Marine Corps League is looking for veterans as new recruits.

"We need to get enough young people involved with all of our American Legion, VFW and the Marine Corps League.

For Corporal Wilson, it was a proper send-off.

"It's a mighty, mighty good feeling of honor to put a brother away," Kretzer said.

Murphy says his group has three military funerals this week alone.

The Marine Corps League meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post #359 at 4826 Frederick Ave. For more information, call (816) 617-4738.
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