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Continuing to honor our Heroes

The VFW Riders continue to honor our fellow veterans each month at Calverton National Cemetery for the NOA ceremony. The NOA service, also known as "no one in attendance” — has been carried out at the national cemetery for nearly two decades. This ritual is takes place every 2nd Wednesday of the month. This is to honor the veterans interred who had no one in attendance at their funerals in the preceding month. It is attended by veterans, Gold Star parents, friends and family members of military personnel both living and deceased, and anyone who wants to honor the veterans.

Lining the walkway up to the chapel at Calverton National Cemetery VFW Riders, along with other groups such as the Patriot Riders, service as flag-bearers during the ceremony. There is a customary firing of three volleys followed by the sounding of "Taps". Two active duty soldiers carry a folded U.S. flag, unfold the flag, the ceremoniously fold the flag again. As they work silently a member of the clergy offer the prayer that traditionally accompanies the flag folding ceremony:

“This banner of love and devotion now being folded is a living memorial of the courageous thoughts of our comrades, the ones you came here this day to honor.

The red stripes tell us of the blood, sweat and tears that have been offered and conquered by our comrade’s devotion to the responsible freedom of his country.

The white stripes boldly proclaim the peace that he has helped bring to our future generations.

The blue field represents the sky that overlooks our land and denotes the watchfulness of God the Eternal.

This is their flag. This is our spiritual heritage. Receive it with the tears of our minds and the faith of our hearts.”

After the prayer the names of all the veterans interred the pervious month who had no one in attendance at their funerals are read aloud.

As the flag folding ritual is completed one of the soldiers presents the flag to a person in attendance that is a stand in for the next of kin. The soldier kneels and recites the official presentation, “Sir, on behalf of the president of the United States, the United States Army and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service to our country.”

The clergy member closes the ceremonies with a prayer:

“Lord help us to be grateful for those heroes of times past and open our hearts to find the courage to find the courage to live our lies like the heroes we remember on this day.”

The service concludes with a piper’s mournful rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

Please feel free to join us attending this service each month. No veteran should leave this world alone.

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