A group of Pennsylvania-area veterans have been volunteering their time to lay to rest late servicemembers with a proper military funeral.
Called the Guardians of the National Cemetery, the group of about 350 veterans arrange daily services at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newton, Pa., for every former servicemember buried there. A daily honor guard composed of seven riflemen provide a 21-gun salute each day. The organization's members also serve as the sole witnesses at the burials of many late veterans, and dedicate a special Thursday ceremony each month to those who were laid to rest without family present.
"It's a remarkable outpouring of American patriotism and American citizenship and the sacrifice the veterans have brought to our community," Guardians of the National Cemetery founder and U.S. Army veteran Antonio Albano told the news source.
Established in 2008, the Guardians of the National Cemetery has interred nearly 6,000 veterans in the Pennsylvania cemetery, Albano stated to the news outlet. The organization's website notes that the guard's membership has been steadily increasing since 2009. Volunteers are recruited through various veterans service associations, and also accepts honorably discharged veterans who are not affiliated with an organization.