Glueckert Funeral Home sponsored and hosted their 7th annual bus tour for Veteran's and families to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. As part of the Glueckert series of "Honoring Their Life & Legacy," their special guests were provided a tour of the grounds. Veterans also received information on the valuable benefits available to them, earned through their service in uniform. Many Veterans remain unaware of the important benefits available to them.
And of course, no Veteran's Event at Glueckerts' is complete without our special caretakers: the Kare-9 Military Comfort dogs. We were honored to have our furry helpers, Susie, Flex and Brandy along with their Veteran handlers joining us as well.
John Glueckert offered a brief presentation to the Veterans and their families during the trip from Arlington Heights to Elwood. He explained the benefits and eligibility requirements, as well as the importance of having their DD-214 Discharge Papers available and accessible. John also explained how to apply for a Presidential Memorial Certificate, how to be included in the Illinois History Project and the burial cost savings available to veterans when their burial takes place in a National Cemetery. Information was presented on how to pre-qualify for burial at a National Cemetery.
Christopher Hill, Program Support staff member from the National Cemetery, guided the tour, sharing the history of the 1000- acre cemetery and explaining the National Shrine Standards that are followed for every service. Between 15 and 28 casketed, cremated remains in-ground burials or Columbarium interments occur each day. Honorably Discharged Veterans have the option of receiving Military Honors from their branch of the service or the Volunteer Honor Squad. Chris gave helpful information on eligibility of those that qualify for space at a National Cemetery. Burial benefits extend to Veterans, their spouse, and dependent children (who qualify before the age of 18 years old). Also, that the order of death did not matter. If the spouse of the Veteran is the first to pass away, they would be placed and given a grave marker. When the Veteran passes away, a new marker would be made for the Veteran and their spouse at no cost to the family. The tour continued to areas in the cemetery including; gravesites, committal shelter, Columbaria, and we passed the Scattering Garden and Memorial Walk.
Our guests participated in the committal of US Air Force Veteran Fred Richard.
This year we had the honor of providing Military Honors, rifle volley, a bugler playing Taps during the committal service of a US Air Force Veteran who had been left in the care of the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. With the help of Rebeca Perrone, indigent Coordinator at Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, Fred Richard had a full Military Honors burial. Veterans from our bus tour were honored to volunteer and serve as pall bearers for the unknown Veteran. We knew this man's name, Fred Richard, and that he was in the Air Force and that he died in July. No family or friends of Fred's were present at the cemetery.
The committal service was led by Matt Bennett, Manager at Glueckert Funeral in a wonderful tribute to this man that no one there knew. Matt's heartfelt words, "Sometimes people come in to our life and we know right away that they are meant to be there, they serve some sort of purpose, to teach us a lesson, or help us define who we are or who we want to become. You never always know who this person may be, it could be your neighbor, a long-lost friend, a companion, a child or even a complete stranger, and you know at that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way." Fred Richard's life will not go without notice, he has had a profound way of touching many lives that he never knew. "Never forget that this man served his country and would have willingly given his life to protect us, our families and our freedoms." The tribute continued, "Mr. Richard chose to serve his country in the United States Airforce, to defend this great nation. Every soldier joins the military with one mission in mind, and that is to protect the freedoms for which this great nation was founded. Soldiers do not get to choose their missions, they are assigned them. A good and obedient soldier accepts their mission without hesitation, regardless of consequence or outcome. A soldier does not choose to protect the freedoms of this nation based on race, religion, gender, or political point of view. They do not fight for some and not others. They do not discriminate, segregate, or value one group over another. They simple accept the mission to serve and protect the freedoms of this country. And that is exactly what Mr. Richard did and that is why he deserves to be buried with dignity and respect, at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery with his fellow comrades."
The flag that had draped the casket was then folded and presented to Jackie Glueckert along with the rifle volley casings from the US Air Force, with the immortal words offered to the families and loved ones of veterans, "On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of Fred Richard."
The Glueckert family will present this flag to Rebeca Perrone for her assistance in helping to coordinate the efforts and help in giving Mr. Richard the proper burial he deserved.
"Our father John W. Glueckert, Sr. loved making this trip each year. He was an Army Veteran and had deep love and respect for the Veterans and their families. The stories on the way to and from Abe Lincoln, the fellowship during the tour, and the profound reverence of the ceremonies and rites were all something very special to him. While our father passed only very recently, he always considered this to be among the most important things our family assisted people with". Then Jackie added, "It's our privilege to honor these men and women who served our country, and honestly; it's our duty to pass along the information on the benefits they earned through that service to all of us. We are very much a part of this grateful nation and must ensure that Veterans are aware of every benefit they are entitled to".
If you are interested in learning more about veteran earned benefits or would like to be included in Veterans programs offered by Glueckert Funeral Home, please contact Jackie Glueckert at 847-253-0168.
About Glueckert Funeral Home- Glueckert Funeral Home has served Arlington Heights and the northwest suburban Chicago communities since 1970. In their second generation of family ownership and operation, the funeral home offers a full range of funeral, cremation and memorial services. We maintain 4 spacious memorial chapels, 2 comfortable lounges and abundant parking. For information about pre-planning, imminent need or immediate need, contact us at (847) 253-0168, or www.glueckertfuneralhome.com.