MIDLAND, Tx. (KOSA) - Service members from six agencies are spending their week training to join the honor guard.
Whenever a service member is laid to rest, it’s the duty of the honor guard to be there for families left behind on the hardest days of their lives.
That’s why these training sessions aim for perfection.
And that means practice—a lot of it.
These agents learn everything from marching, rifle handling and flag folding to prepare to honor fellow service members at funerals.
Of course, drilling down these moves is only half the battle.
“How you tell the family that your sorry and that your loved one’s going to be okay and see the little ones,” U.S. Border Patrol Assistant Chief Carlos Ortiz said. “That’s probably the most tragic thing you see in the honor guard outfit, when you see the little kids, “‘my daddy wore that uniform.’”
Ortiz, who is helping organize the training, said tears have already been shed on day one after he showed videos of funerals.
He said this part of the training reminds volunteers that the honor guard membership comes along with heavy emotional weight and pressure.
“When you’re providing those honors and that family is grieving right across from you and you’re folding that flag, that American flag, and they’re counting on you to do it right, there’s a lot of pressure there,” Ortiz said.
As tough as it may be, these volunteers are committed to mastering every step and turn because they know it’s the last best thing they can do for their fallen brothers and sisters.
“It means the world to the family,” Midland Police Detective Brianna Rodriguez said. “I mean, just to see us in uniform and folding the flag or just standing by the casket, it means the world. And for us as a team, it’s the best honor we can ever have.”
The officers are set to finish their training Friday where they will perform a mock funeral at the Midland Horseshoe Arena.