Twice a month, the honor guard from Kent’s VFW Post 6785 shares the duty of providing military funeral honors at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.
The honor guard shares the duty on the first and second Thursdays each month with District 33 of the Disabled American Veterans. The Kent group takes the mornings and the Disabled American Veterans the afternoons, although each group helps out the other when needed.
“Volunteering with the post honor guard providing military funeral honors and support at Tahoma National Cemetery is one the most personally rewarding and fulfilling things we do in the VFW, and a way we give back to the community,” said VFW Post 6785 Cmdr. Walt Tanimoto in an October Facebook post.
A comment on the Facebook post shows how much people appreciate the honor guard.
“I was so grateful for the Army volunteers that presented the honors for my husband’s service on Sept. 29,” according to the post. “I want to thank every single volunteer for their service.”
Tanimoto said the Kent VFW Post 6785 is always looking for veterans to volunteer and help the group in its mission to do more for veterans.
The post is part of the cemetery’s Veterans Service Organization Honor Guard Association. These veterans provide honors to 90% of the veterans interred at the cemetery. The association is made up of The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Elks Club and other organizations.
Tahoma National Cemetery is at 18600 Southeast 240th Street in Kent, in unincorporated King County. The cemetery was established in 1993 and opened for interments in 1997.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, according to the Tahoma National Cemetery website.
A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the veteran.
Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.
As far as visiting the cemetery, the gates operate automatically, opening at 6 a.m. and closing between 6 and 9 p.m., depending on hours of daylight.