January 13, 2012:
In the last decade a rapidly growing number of American World War II veterans have been dying from old age. Most of these veterans were born between 1915 and 1925, and now about 200,000 of them are dying each year. Currently about 90 percent of military funerals are for World War II veterans.
The U.S. Department of Defense will provide a detachment of uniformed troops to render military honors at the burial. This includes a bugler to play taps and several men with rifles to render a gunfire salute. The Department of Defense usually has arrangements with state reserve National Guard units to provide these detachments, although the U.S. Marine Corps provides its own honor guards for funerals of marines. The New York State National Guard has sixty full time and seventy part time troops providing honor guards for over 10,000 military funerals a year. New York and California together account for about a quarter of all these military funerals.