Open Forum: Saluting Ed Ellis
Last weekend the Winchester Parks and Rec hosted their inaugural “Salute to the Troops” celebration, which included a candlelight vigil at the POW/MIA memorial, a Marine flag-raising at the Mt. Hebron Cemetery, the Korean War Memorial dedication, and a parade with a number of military and veteran organizations.
The Winchester community is renowned for its support of the troops and veterans. With that in mind, I would like to salute one special veteran, not for his actions on the battlefield, but for his actions in honoring our deceased veterans. Ed Ellis is the captain of the VFW Post 2123 Honor Guard. For nearly a year, I have had the privilege to be at Ed's side along with our small band of brothers, eight in all, who make up the VFW Honor Guard, teaming with the Virginia National Guard to conduct military honor-guard services for our departed veterans.
In years past, honor-guard services regularly exceeded 100 per year with a high of 118. So far this year the VFW Honor Guard has conducted military honor services to 71 departed veterans and at more than a dozen civic events — and Ed has been to every one.
In addition to his honor-guard duties, Ed has taken upon himself, with the help of his wife Charlotte, to personally maintain the grounds surrounding the POW/MIA Memorial at Jim Barnett Park by planting flowers, mowing and edging the grass, and trimming the shrubbery. This can be quite exhausting during these sweltering summer days, especially to someone who served his country in Korea during the ’50s.
And Ed doesn’t stop there. Once a month he goes to the Martinsburg VA Medical Center to work bingo for the veteran patients. In addition to being a member of VFW Post 2123, he is also a member of American Legion Post 21, Korean War Veterans (Shenandoah Valley Chapter 313), Amvets Post 18 and Rolling Thunder (Virginia Chapter 1).
Ed is eight years my senior and I find it difficult to keep up with his busy volunteer schedule.
For those who lost a loved one who was honorably discharged but did not have military honors during their funeral services, it is not too late to have graveside honors provided by the VFW Honor Guard. Just send Ed an e-mail at email@example.com.
If you are a military veteran and would like to join the VFW Honor Guard, just e-mail Ed at that same address. You do not need to be a member of VFW Post 2123, or a war veteran, to do so. Ed invites veterans from all branches of service, and he’ll even provide the Honor Guard’s Army green uniform. As a Navy veteran I wear my Navy uniform when we conduct military honors for a departed Navy veteran.
Anthony Rulli is a resident of Stephens City.