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Honoring the ultimate sacrifice

Staff Sgt. Olajide Shasanya, 22nd Force Support Squadron honor guardsman, holds a ceremonial flag May 25, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. McConnell’s honor guard is responsible for covering events in 72 counties in Kansas and two counties in Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

Staff Sgt. Olajide Shasanya, 22nd Force Support Squadron honor guardsman, holds a ceremonial flag May 25, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. McConnell’s honor guard is responsible for covering events in 72 counties in Kansas and two counties in Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

Senior Airman Abigail Craig, 22nd Force Support Squadron honor guardsman, salutes a flag held by Senior Airman John Wilson, 22nd FSS honor guardsman, May 25, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The mission of McConnell’s honor guard is to make the final moments with a loved one special for the families of the fallen by providing a ceremonial performance honoring the veteran. These events emphasize the importance of holidays such as Memorial Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

Senior Airman Abigail Craig, 22nd Force Support Squadron honor guardsman, salutes a flag held by Senior Airman John Wilson, 22nd FSS honor guardsman, May 25, 2021, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The mission of McConnell’s honor guard is to make the final moments with a loved one special for the families of the fallen by providing a ceremonial performance honoring the veteran. These events emphasize the importance of holidays such as Memorial Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexi Bosarge)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – Watching an honor guard place a United States flag over the casket of a loved one is one of the most emotional and memorable experiences a person can have. It is also a reminder of all the sacrifices that person made to serve their country.

The mission of McConnell’s honor guard is to make these moments special for the families of the fallen by providing a ceremonial performance honoring the veteran. These events emphasize the importance of holidays such as Memorial Day.

“I think Memorial Day is a reminder of how important our mission is,” said Staff Sgt. Emily Graham, 22nd Force Support Squadron non-commissioned officer in-charge of honor guard. “It is also a chance for us to showcase to the community what we do in honor guard even if they may not have family members in the service.”

There are approximately 60 Airmen selected to serve in McConnell’s honor guard and perform at events annually such as funerals, sporting events and various ceremonies.

“There’s a lot of people that have paved the way, so to be able to honor their memory and what they have done for us in the Air Force is very important,” said Airman 1st Class Manuel Uribe, 22nd FSS honor guardsmen.

Additionally Airmen honor and represent service members year-round in 74 different counties across Kansas and Oklahoma.

“Memorial Day gives us the big picture of what we are here to do,” said Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Milton, 22nd FSS honor guard shift lead. “Although we provide services for past Air Force members, we are able to reflect on all that have given the ultimate sacrifice.”