MINNEAPOLIS - When you're roughly the same age as the temperature outside, there are times when you have to make concessions.
"His wife said, 'No it's too hot,'" explained Leon Simon about one the members of the Fort Snelling National Cemetery's Memorial Rifle Squad. "He's about 88, I think."
The all-volunteer military rifle squad has been performing funerals for more than 34 years.
It's members are a tough bunch, but heat indices above 100 were a bit much.
"Some guys will push it a little extra, a little longer than they should and we have to make sure that they stop," explained Captain Rick Zech.
Zech keeps a closer eye on each guy when the sun beats down and when ceremonies roll into the next.
Over the last several weeks, it's not uncommon for the squad to do a dozen events a day, but it's nothing like the ceremonies they would have back in the day.
"Years ago, we used to have the religious service first, and we'd be standing out in the sun for some time, depending on the preacher," smiled Simon.
Now, the squad's portion of the ceremony is finished early, giving the volunteers a chance to catch a break in the air conditioned bus, get some water and get ready for the next funeral.
"(On Tuesday), it's lucky that we're only going to be doing four," smiled Zech.
In 34 years, the squad has performed 62,720 funerals, logged 1,3025,000 volunteer hours and traveled 5,950,000 miles -- all for the love of country -- no matter the temperature.
The Memorial Rifle Squad provides a military ceremonial burial service at no charge for the family of an honorably discharged veteran.
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