Local News

Lack of military funerals during pandemic frustrates families of veterans

Posted May 18, 2020 7:31 p.m. EDT

— The military suspended funerals with full honors for veterans two months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing concerns.

The lack of an honor guard, "Taps" and other tributes is troubling to the families of some veterans who have recently died.

"It's very hard," said Linda Wise, whose family had to stand 100 yards away Monday as her father was buried at Sandhills Veterans Cemetery near Fort Bragg.

SFC Benoit "Frenchy" Trudeau, 91, retired after 27 years in the Army, serving in posts in Japan, Vietnam and South Korea.

Catherine Mangum also was buried at the veterans cemetery in Spring Lake. Her son said he had to fight to get someone to come and fold her American flag for the family.

"I want every veteran to have that," Michael White said. "I don't want to have someone else like me to go 40-something straight hours with no sleep, contacting every single body I could to get this to happen for my mother. It's ridiculous. It shouldn't happen."

It's unclear when military and state officials will lift the restriction on military honors. The Sandhills Veterans Cemetery already has a backlog of more than 50 military funerals that need to be scheduled for honors.

Trudeau's family is taking the matter into their own hands.

"Someone is going to play Taps, and we're all going to honk our horns – a 21-honk salute," Wise said.

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