YUMA, Ariz. – Many refer to them as the greatest generation but World War II veterans are dying every day and the American Legion in Yuma is having trouble getting veteran volunteers to perform the traditional ceremony at veteran funerals.
According to the U.S. Veterans Administration as many as 430 veterans pass away daily making it difficult for living veterans to perform at all funerals. Richard Perez with American Legion Post 19 in Yuma, says they don’t have the man power.
“I would say about 95% of the time when a family requests a ceremony we do provide them,” said Perez.
Perez says the volunteers they have now are about 70-years-old and says it is difficult for them to stand 30 to 45 minutes for the ceremony, especially in the summer month.
Today in the Foothills, a funeral was held at Sunset Vista Funeral home for World War II veteran Sergeant Jack Underwood. The American Legion were able to provide a bugler, shooting team and guards to honor Underwood.
“Anyone wearing the uniform should know it’s our place, it’s our honor to take care of those passed,” said Perez.
Jon Underwood, Jack Underwood’s son is also a veteran, says he is happy his father was honored today and says his father would be happy too.
“I will miss him as a mentor, counselor, my father and my best friend,” said Underwood.
If you are a veteran and would like to volunteer visit American Legion post 19 or 56.