Veteran’s Corner: Military Funeral Rites, Upcoming Events and Q&A | Local News

The general public knows that deceased veterans are often granted military funeral rites. Unfortunately, some deceased veterans not only are not granted military funeral honors, but their remains are not claimed by family or friends. Veterans’ organizations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas and a television station in Shreveport, Louisiana, and active military forces recently joined forces to honor these veterans whose cremated remains did not not been claimed.

Many veterans organizations have honor guards and hold military funeral rites for local veterans. The American Legion Combined Honor Guard Posts 635 in Normal, Post 56 in Bloomington and Ellsworth 1,244 combined forces in 2021 to conduct military funeral rites at 110 funerals and 56 events such as the Olympics track and field meet specials and display colors for games and other events. Due to COVID-19 restrictions over the past two years, the American Legion Combined Honor Guard also held communal military rites for deceased veterans at a time when restrictions prohibited the gathering of more than 10 family members and friends of the veteran. The Combined Honor Guard will hold a community rite for these families if requested. Contact Butch Ekstam at 309-825-2703.

The Central Illinois Leathernecks Detachment 988 will be sponsoring a three-day fundraiser for the sack tournament. The tournament will take place on March 6, April 3 and May 1 at VFW Post 454 on Lincoln Street in Bloomington. Contact Kevin Keller at 618-554-1540, email [email protected] or go to for more information.

Q: I’m a 20 year old male who didn’t enter the draft when I turned 18. I figured since no one had been drafted in over 45 years, I didn’t need to sign up. I’m trying to finish college and find out that because I didn’t enter the draft, I’m not eligible for federal grants, scholarships, and other financial aid. Women are not required to enter the repechage. However, they can still apply for and receive federal education assistance. Is it right?

A: America ended the draft in 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War. All men in the United States must enroll in Selective Service (the Draft) within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The project would allow our country to be able to meet increased military requirements that may exceed the capabilities of our current active duty, our reserves and the ability of our National Guard units to respond. Women have always been exempt from conscription, as the law only allowed them to serve in non-combatant roles. Congress, in a move toward diversity, has passed laws that make women eligible for service in all military occupational specialties. There were several legislative efforts to require Selective Service registration at age 18 for both men and women, but they did not pass. It seems rather myopic to consider diversity or equity to make the military as strong as possible. The military mission is to defend our nation and win wars, not that one group or another be treated fairly!

Jerry Vogler is superintendent of the McLean County Veterans Aid Commission.

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