Reporting Reg Chapman
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota’s top veterans official says the state will continue helping pay for honor guards at veterans’ funerals.
On Wednesday, Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito said his agency has the funds to keep paying for the funeral honors, even though the spending was cut in the new state budget.
The honor guard is a special tribute at the funeral for someone who has served. Honor guards, dressed in full military apparel, play a crucial role in the dignified burial most veterans want. They carry the flags, play Taps and conduct the gun salute at a burial.
Since 2008, Minnesota has given a one-time funding of $100,000 to the MDVA, which is given to local American Legions and Veterans of Foreign War Posts.
Honor guards get a $50 reimbursement per burial, which covers the cost of mileage and uniforms.
Shellito says he and Gov. Mark Dayton are committed to working together with the Legislature in the coming session to establish permanent funding for funeral honors. He also pointed out that the MDVA was one of only two agencies to receive a funding increase for the next fiscal year.
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The honor guard group that was shown in video originally attached to this story has never received government funding. WCCO apologizes for the error and has taken down the original video.