The Honor Guard conducts full military honors, to include Pallbearers and a Chaplain, when needed. A three (3) volley salute using M-1 rifles, playing of Taps with a live bugler, and folding and presenting the flag to the next of kin. At the end of the honors, 21 rounds of brass and the following card is presented to the veteran's next of kin. The service is performed free of charge and is self-funded by donations and monies from members of the VFW. In addition, members of the Honor Guard have paid their own expenses, such as gas, food, and maintaining their uniforms.
The practice of firing three rifle volleys over the grave originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each army had cleared their dead, it would fire three volleys to indicate that the dead had been cared for and that they were ready to fight again. The fact that the firing party consists of seven riflemen, firing these volleys, does not constitute a 21-gun-salute. It is the three volleys that are significant, not the number of rifles. Three volleys fired over the casket have become a tradition to mean the dead have been cared for. It has evolved into a military salute for the deceased serving their country. Firing the three volleys over the casket is one of the highest honors to give a deceased military veteran. Our nation's highest honor is a flag draped over the casket, folded and presented. Tradition is to place three spent shell casings inside the folded flag to prove now and forevermore that the deceased and his flag have had proper military honors. Nothing else is to be placed inside the flag.
The national salute of 21 guns is fired in honor of a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President and Presedint-elect of the United stated. It is also fired at noon of the day of the funeral of a President, ex-President, or President-elect, on Washington's Birthday, Presidents' Day, and the Fourth of July. On Memorial Day, a salute of 21 minute guns is fired while the flag is flown at half-mast.