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Colorado Army National Guard Honor Guard

Provides support to the entitlement of the various levels of the Military Funeral Honors Ceremony (References DoD NDAA, DA and NGB): Standard, Modified Full-Honors, and Full Honors.

State Coordinator

Office: (720) 250-2526
Cellular: (618) 772-8922
Administration: (720) 250-2521
Fax: (720) 250-2529

Request Honors: (720) 250-2523 or 1-888-704-6667 (1-888-70 HONOR)


 How to request Honor Guard support

Colorado Army National Guard family members requesting Military Funeral Honors must provide the Funeral Director handling the deceased veteran’s affairs with an official document verifying entitlement to such honors. The preferred documentation is the Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214) or a Honorable Discharge Certificate. The Funeral Director, after receipt of one of these documents, will contact the Casualty Assistance Command at Fort Carson, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Casualty Assistance Command will either provide the requested Honors Team or forward the request to the Colorado Army National Guard Honor Guard.

There are three levels of Military Funeral Honors

By law, Honorably Discharged Army Veterans (not retired, not active duty death, not Killed in Action, and not Medal of Honor recipients) are entitled to:

Standard Military Funeral Honors

  • Two Army Soldiers
  • Folding and presentation of the burial Flag
  • The playing of TAPS


By law, Honorably Discharged Army Veterans (retired and active duty deaths, but not Killed in Action or a Medal of Honor recipients) are entitled to:

Modified Full Military Funeral Honors

  • Seven Army Soldiers
  • Casket Bearers
  • Three person Firing Party
  • The playing of TAPS


By law, Honorably Discharged Army Veterans (general officers, chief warrant officer 5th class, sergeant major, Killed in Action and Medal of Honor recipients) are entitled to:

Full Military Funeral Honors

  • Seventeen to Twenty-One Soldiers
  • Casket Bearers
  • Seven person Firing Party
  • Six person flag folding and presentation
  • The playing of TAPS
  • Color Guard

Procedure for requesting a Color Guard from the Honor Guard

Requests for a Color Guard to support civilian events must be requested through the Military Support Operations office located in the State Public Affairs office of the Colorado National Guard.

COARNG Honor Guard recruiting or membership procedures

Colorado Army National Guard personnel and United States Army Retirees should contact the Orderly Room at the Honor Guard Headquarters located at 55 South Potomac Street, Aurora, Colorado 80012-1398 or Denver local: 720-250-2521 or Toll Free at 1-888-70-HONOR (1-888-704-6667),

Army National Guard Honor Guard Mission Statement

Render professional military funeral honors, in accordance with service tradition, to all eligible veterans, when requested by an authorized family member.


About the Colorado Army National Guard - State Honor Guard

Executive Order Establishes the Colorado National Guard as the Governor's Official Military Honor Guard.

The Colorado National Guard State Honor Guard was established with a proclamation by the then Adjutant General of Colorado Brig. Gen. John L. France on Jan. 4, 1982.

The Honor Guard has served honorably and faithfully since that date, performing at ceremonial occasions across the state of Colorado and appearing at other national events, and continues to do so to this day. The primary mission changed in July 2004 from Color Guard to the execution of Military Funeral Honors ceremonies for Army veterans answering the final roll call. Honor Guardsmen continue with pride to "Honor Those Who Served."

Artillery Cannon Salute - Aircraft Flyover - Patriotic Music On the 4th of July beginning at 11:45 a.m. in Lincoln Park downtown Denver...


History of the military funeral honors ceremony

Funeral services of great magnificence evolved as custom from what is known about early Christian mourning in the 6th century. To this day, no religious ceremonies are conducted with more pomp than those intended to commemorate the departed.

The first general mourning proclaimed in America was on the death of Benjamin Franklin in 1791 and the next on the death of President George Washington in 1799. The deep and widespread grief occasioned by the death of the first president assembled a great number of people for the purpose of paying him a last tribute of respect. On Wednesday, Dec. 18 1799, attended by military honors and the simplest but grandest of ceremonies of religion, his body was deposited in the family vault at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Several military traditions employed today have been brought forward from the past.

Reversed arms, displayed by one opponent on the battlefield, signaled a truce was requested so that the dead and wounded could be carried off and the dead buried.

Today's customary three volleys fired over a grave probably originated as far back as the Roman Empire. The Roman funeral rites of casting dirt three times on the coffin constituted the "burial." It was customary among Romans to call the dead three times by name, which ended the funeral ceremony, after which the friends and relatives of the deceased pronounced the word "vale" (farewell) three times as they departed from the tomb. In more recent history, three musket volleys were fired to announce that the burying of the dead was completed and the burial party was ready for battle again.

The custom of using a caisson to carry a coffin most likely had its origins in the 1800s when horse-drawn caissons that pulled artillery pieces also double as a conveyance to clear fallen Soldiers from the battlefield.

In the mid to late 1800s a funeral procession of a mounted officer or enlisted man was accompanied by a riderless horse in mourning caparison followed by the hearse. It was also a custom to have the boots of the deceased thrown over the saddle with the heels to the front signifying that his march was ended. Thus today the "Caparisoned Horse" also carries the officer's saber and is generally only used in ceremonies honoring officers in the rank of Colonel and above.

Volleys at funeral frequently mistaken as a Twenty-One Gun Salute

People frequently and erroneously assume the volleys fired during the Military Funeral Honors ceremony as a "21-gun salute." The standard for a full honors ceremony consists of a firing party of seven, firing three volleys coincidentally totals 21 rounds, however the symbolism is in the number of volleys, not rounds. By the Army Field Manual, a firing party may have as few as five weapons but not more than eight.

Origin of the actual 21-Gun Salute

The tradition of saluting can be traced to the Middle Ages practice of placing oneself in an unarmed postion and, therefore, in the power of those being honored. The cannon salute might have originated in the 17th century with the maritime practice of demanding that a defeated enemy expend its ammunition and render itself helpless until reloaded - a time-consuming operation in that era.

In the Anglo-Saxon Empire, seven guns was a recognized naval salute, seven being the standard number of weapons on a vessel. Because more gunpowder could be stored on dry land, forts could fire three rounds for every one fired from sea, hence the number 21. With the improvement of naval gunpowder, honors rendered at sea were increased to 21, as well.

Beginning in our colonial period, the United States fired one shot for each state in the Union. This was continued until 1841 when it was reduced to 21 from 26. Although it had been in use for more than 30 years, the 21-gun salute was not formally adopted until Aug. 18, 1875. This was at the suggestion of the British, who proposed a "Gun for Gun Return" to their own 21-gun salute. The Twenty-One Gun Salute is actually in reference to the naval tradition of emptying their naval guns while entering a foreign port, signifying that their guns were empty and intended no harm or aggression.

Playing of TAPS: 24 Notes That Tap Deep Emotions

By Jari A. Villanueva

Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to render emotion than the call Taps. The melody is both eloquent and haunting and the history of its origin is interesting and somewhat clouded in controversy. In the British Army, a similar call known as Last Post has been sounded over soldiers' graves since 1885, but the use of Taps is unique with the United States military, since the call is sounded at funerals, wreath-laying and memorial services.

Taps began as a revision to the signal for Extinguish Lights (Lights Out) at the end of the day. Up until the Civil War, the infantry call for Extinguish Lights was the one set down in Silas Casey's (1801-1882) Tactics, which had been borrowed from the French. The music for Taps was adapted by Union General Daniel Butterfield for his brigade (Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac) in July, 1862.

Daniel Adams Butterfield (31 October 1831-17 July 1901) was born in Utica, New York and graduated from Union College at Schenectady. He was the eastern superintendent of the American Express Company in New York when the Civil War broke out. Despite his lack of military experience, he rose quickly in rank. A Colonel in the 12th Regiment of the New York State Militia, he was promoted to Brigadier General and given command of a brigade of the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The 12th served in the Shenandoah Valley during the the Bull Run Campaign. During the Peninsular Campaign Butterfield served prominently when during the Battle of Gaines Mill, despite an injury, he seized the colors of the 83rd Pennsylvania and rallied the regiment at a critical time in the battle. Years later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for that act of heroism.

As the story goes, General Butterfield was not pleased with the call for Extinguish Lights feeling that the call was too formal to signal the days end and with the help of the brigade bugler, Oliver Willcox Norton, wrote Taps to honor his men while in camp at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, following the Seven Day's battle. These battles took place during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. The call, sounded that night in July, 1862, soon spread to other units of the Union Army and was even used by the Confederates. Taps was made an official bugle call after the war.

The highly romantic account of how Butterfield composed the call surfaced in 1898 following a magazine article written that summer. The August, 1898 issue of Century Magazine contained an article called The Trumpet in Camp and Battle, by Gustav Kobbe, a music historian and critic. He was writing about the origin of bugle calls in the Civil War and in reference to Taps, wrote:

In speaking of our trumpet calls I purposely omitted one with which it seemed most appropriate to close this article, for it is the call which closes the soldier's day. . . . Lights Out. I have not been able to trace this call to any other service. If it seems probable, it was original with Major Seymour, he has given our army the most beautiful of all trumpet-calls.

Kobbe was using as an authority the Army drill manual on infantry tactics prepared by Major General Emory Upton in 1867 (revised in 1874). The bugle calls in the manual were compiled by Major (later General) Truman Seymour of the 5th U.S. Artillery. Taps was called Extinguish Lights in these manuals since it was to replace the Lights Out call disliked by Butterfield. The title of the call was not changed until later, although other manuals started calling it Taps because most soldiers knew it by that name. Since Seymour was responsible for the music in the Army manual, Kobbe assumed that he had written the call. Kobbe s inability to find the origin of Extinguish Lights (Taps) prompted a letter from Oliver W. Norton in Chicago who claimed he knew how the call came about and that he was the first to perform it.

Norton wrote:

Chicago, August 8, 1898 I was much interested in reading the article by Mr. Gustav Kobbe, on the Trumpet and Bugle Calls, in the August Century. Mr. Kobbe says that he has been unable to trace the origin of the call now used for Taps, or the Go to sleep , as it is generally called by the soldiers. As I am unable to give the origin of this call, I think the following statement may be of interest to Mr. Kobbe and your readers.. .. During the early part of the Civil War I was bugler at the Headquarters of Butterfield s Brigade, Morell s Division, Fitz-John Porter s Corp, Army of the Potomac. Up to July, 1862, the Infantry call for Taps was that set down in Casey s Tactics, which Mr. Kobbe says was borrowed from the French. One day, soon after the seven days battles on the Peninsular, when the Army of the Potomac was lying in camp at Harrison's Landing, General Daniel Butterfield, then commanding our Brigade, sent for me, and showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an envelope, asked me to sound them on my bugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night, and was heard far beyond the limits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring Brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. I think no general order was issued from army headquarters authorizing the substitution of this for the regulation call, but as each brigade commander exercised his own discretion in such minor matters, the call was gradually taken up through the Army of the Potomac. I have been told that it was carried to the Western Armies by the 11th and 12th Corps, when they went to Chattanooga in the fall of 1863, and rapidly made it s way through those armies. I did not presume to question General Butterfield at the time, but from the manner in which the call was given to me, I have no doubt he composed it in his tent at Harrison s Landing. I think General Butterfield is living at Cold Spring, New York. If you think the matter of sufficient interest, and care to write him on the subject, I have no doubt he will confirm my statement. -Oliver W. Norton

The editor did write to Butterfield as suggested by Norton. In answer to the inquiry from the editor of the Century, General Butterfield writing from Gragside, Cold Spring, under the date of August 31, 1898 wrote:

I recall, in my dim memory, the substantial truth of the statement made by Norton, of the 83rd Pa., about bugle calls. His letter gives the impression that I personally wrote the notes for the call. The facts are, that at the time I could sound calls on the bugle as a necessary part of military knowledge and instruction for an officer commanding a regiment or brigade. I had acquired this as a regimental commander. I had composed a call for my brigade, to precede any calls, indicating that such were calls, or orders, for my brigade alone. This was of very great use and effect on the march and in battle. It enabled me to cause my whole command, at times, in march, covering over a mile on the road, all to halt instantly, and lie down, and all arise and start at the same moment; to forward in line of battle, simultaneously, in action and charge etc. It saves fatigue. The men rather liked their call, and began to sing my name to it. It was three notes and a catch. I can not write a note of music, but have gotten my wife to write it from my whistling it to her, and enclose it. The men would sing , Dan, Dan, Dan, Butterfield, Butterfield to the notes when a call came. Later, in battle, or in some trying circumstances or an advance of difficulties, they sometimes sang, Damn, Damn, Damn, Butterfield, Butterfield.

The call of Taps did not seem to be as smooth, melodious and musical as it should be, and I called in some one who could write music, and practiced a change in the call of Taps until I had it suit my ear, and then, as Norton writes, got it to my taste without being able to write music or knowing the technical name of any note, but, simply by ear, arranged it as Norton describes. I did not recall him in connection with it, but his story is substantially correct. Will you do me the favor to send Norton a copy of this letter by your typewriter? I have none. -Daniel Butterfield

On the surface, this seems to be the true history of the origin of Taps. Indeed, the many articles written about Taps cite this story as the beginning of Butterfield's association with the call. Certainly, Butterfield never went out of his way to claim credit for its composition and it wasn't until the Century article that the origin came to light.

There are however, significant differences in Butterfield's and Norton's stories. Norton says that the music given to him by Butterfield that night was written down on an envelope while Butterfield wrote that he could not read or write music! Also Butterfield's words seem to suggest that he was not composing a melody in Norton s presence, but actually arranging or revising an existing one. As a commander of a brigade, he knew of the bugle calls needed to relay troop commands. All officers of the time were required to know the calls and were expected to be able to play the bugle. Butterfield was no different-he could play the bugle but could not read music. As a colonel of the 12th N.Y. Regiment, before the war, he had ordered his men to be thoroughly familiar with calls and drills.

What could account for the variation in stories? My research shows that Butterfield did not compose Taps but actually revised an earlier bugle call. This sounds blasphemous to many, but the fact is that Taps existed in an early version of the call Tattoo. As a signal for end of the day, armies have used Tattoo to signal troops to prepare them for bedtime roll call. The call was used to notify the soldiers to cease the evening's drinking and return to their garrisons. It was sounded an hour before the final call of the day to extinguish all fires and lights. This early version is found in three manuals the Winfield Scott (1786 -1866 ) manual of 1835, the Samuel Cooper (1798-1876) manual of 1836 and the William Gilham (1819?-1872) manual of 1861. This call referred to as the Scott Tattoo was in use from 1835-1860. A second version of Tattoo came into use just before the Civil War and was in use throughout the war replacing the Scott Tattoo.

The fact that Norton says that Butterfield composed Taps cannot be questioned. He was relaying the facts as he remembered them. His conclusion that Butterfield wrote Taps can be explained by the presence of the second Tattoo. It was most likely that the second Tattoo, followed by Extinguish Lights (the first eight measures of today's Tattoo), was sounded by Norton during the course of the war.

It seems possible that these two calls were sounded to end the soldier's day on both sides during the war. It must therefore be evident that Norton did not know the early Tattoo or he would have immediately recognized it that evening in Butterfield's tent. If you review the events of that evening, Norton came into Butterfield's tent and played notes that were already written down on an envelope. Then Butterfield changed it somewhat, lengthening some notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. If you compare that statement while looking at the present day Taps, you will see that this is exactly what happened to turn the early (Scott) Tattoo in Taps. Butterfield as stated above, was a Colonel before the War and in General Order No. 1 issued by him on December 7, 1859 had the order: The Officers and non-commissioned Officers are expected to be thoroughly familiar with the first thirty pages, Vol. 1, Scott's Tactics, and ready to answer any questions in regard to the same previous to the drill above ordered Scott's Tactics include the bugle calls that Butterfield must have known and used.

If Butterfield was using Scott's Tactics for drills, then it is feasible that he would have used the calls as set in the manual. Lastly, it is hard to believe that Butterfield could have composed anything that July in the aftermath of the Seven Days battles which saw the Union Army of the Potomac mangled by Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Over twenty six thousand casualties were suffered on both sides. Butterfield had lost over 600 of his men on June 27th at the battle of Gaines Mill and had himself been wounded. In the midst of the heat, humidity, mud, mosquitoes, dysentery, typhoid and general wretchedness of camp life in that early July, it is hard to imagine being able to write anything.

In the interest of historical accuracy, it should be noted that it is not General Butterfield who composed Taps, rather that he revised an earlier call into the present day bugle call we know as Taps. This is not meant to take credit away from him. It is only to put things in a correct historic manner. Following the Peninsular Campaign, Butterfield served at 2nd Bull Run, Antietam and at Marye's Heights in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Through political connections and his ability for administration, he became a Major General and served as chief of staff of the Union Army of the Potomac under Generals Joseph Hooker and George Meade. He was wounded at Gettysburg and then reassigned to the Western Theater. By war's end, he was breveted a brigadier general and stayed in the army after the Civil War, serving as superintendent of the army's recruiting service in New York City and colonel of the 5th Infantry. In 1870, after resigning from the military, Butterfield went back to work with the American Express Company. He was in charge of a number of special public ceremonies, including General William Tecumseh Sherman's funeral in 1891. Besides his association with Taps, Butterfield also designed the system of Corps Badges which were distinctive shapes of color cloth sewn on to uniforms to distinguish units.

Butterfield died in 1901. His tomb is the most ornate in the cemetery at West Point despite the fact that he never attended. There is also a monument to Butterfield in New York City near Grant's Tomb. There is nothing on either monument that mentions Taps or Butterfield's association with the call. Taps was sounded at his funeral.

How did it become associated with funerals? The earliest official reference to the mandatory use of Taps at military funeral ceremonies is found in the U.S. Army Infantry Drill Regulations for 1891, although it had doubtless been used unofficially long before that time, under its former designation Extinguish Lights.

The first use of Taps at a funeral during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia. Captain John C. Tidball of Battery A, 2nd Artillery ordered it played for the burial of a cannoneer killed in action. Since the enemy was close, he worried that the traditional 3 volleys would renew fighting.

During the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, a soldier of Tidball's Battery - A of the 2nd Artillery - was buried at a time when the battery occupied an advanced position, concealed in the woods. It was unsafe to fire the customary three volleys over the grave on account of the proximity of the enemy, and it occurred to Captain Tidball that the sounding of Taps would be the most ceremony that would be substituted. The custom, thus originated, was taken up throughout the Army of the Potomac, and finally confirmed by orders. Colonel James A. Moss Officer's Manual Pub. George Banta Publishing Co. Menasha Wisconsin 1913 Elbridge Coby in Army Talk (Princeton, 1942), p.208 states that it was B Battery of the Third Artillery that first used Taps at a military funeral.

This first sounding of Taps at a military funeral is commemorated in a stained glass window at The Chapel of the Centurion (The Old Post Chapel) at Fort Monroe, Virginia. The window, made by R. Geissler of New York and based on a painting by Sidney King, was dedicated in 1958 and shows a bugler and a flag at half staff. In that picture a drummer boy stands beside the bugler. The grandson of that drummer boy purchased Berkeley Plantation where Harrisons Landing is located. The site where Taps was born is also commemorated. In this case, by a monument located on the grounds of Berkeley Plantation. This monument to Taps was erected by the Virginia American Legion and dedicated on July 4, 1969. The site is also rich in history, for the Harrisons of Berkeley Plantation included Benjamin Harrison and William Henry Harrison, both presidents of the United States as well as Benjamin Harrison (father and Great grandfather of future presidents), a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

It must be pointed out that other stories of the origin of Taps exist. A popular one is that of a Northern boy who was killed fighting for the south. His father, Robert Ellicombe a Captain in the Union Army, came upon his son's body on the battlefield and found the notes to Taps in a pocket of the dead boy's Confederate uniform. When Union General Daniel Sickles heard the story, he had the notes sounded at the boy's funeral. There is no evidence to back up the story or the existence of Captain Ellicombe. As with many other customs, this solemn tradition continues today. Although Butterfield merely revised an earlier bugle call, his role in producing those 24 notes gives him a place in the history of music as well as the history of war.

As soon as Taps was sounded that night in July 1862, words were put with the music. The first were, "Go To Sleep, Go to Sleep." As the years went on many more versions were created. There are no official words to the music but here are some of the more popular verses:

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.


 Flag Customs, Courtesies, and Laws

Folding of the Flag (U.S. Code and AR 840-10 )

The Flag is carefully folded into the shape of a tri-cornered hat, emblematic of the hats worn by Colonial Coldiers during the war for Independence. In the folding, the red and white stripes are finally wrapped into the blue, as the light of day vanishes into the darkness of night. This custom of special folding is reserved for the United States Flag alone.

Draping the casket with the national flag

This custom began during the Napoleanic Wars (1706-1815). The dead carried from the field of battle on a caisson were covered with a flag. When the U.S. Flag covers the casket, it is placed so the union blue field is at the head and over the left should. It is not placed in the grave and is not allowed to touch the ground. At the memorial service, the flag is presented to the Next of Kin.

Tradition of placing spent cartfidges inside of the U.S. flag (U.S. Code) - Prohibited

The following are excerpts from the United States Code in regards to proper etiquette and protocol in regards to the United States Flag:

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

Placement of the flag inside the casket before burial (U.S. Code) - Prohibited

(n) When the Flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

Colorado National Cemeteries

Fort Logan National Cemetery

Fort Logan is located in Denver County near the southwest boundary of the City of Denver. By the 1880s, with the removal of much of the Native American population to reservations, the federal government had begun to close many frontier forts. The rapid growth of the railroad had made it easier for the Army to quickly move troops to where they were needed. The frontier posts that had played such an important role in the development of the West became increasingly obsolete and expensive to maintain. Still, the citizenry of Denver, in relative isolation and apprehensive concerning increased immigration from the East and abroad, petitioned the Army to establish a post near the city. In 1886, Colorado Sen. Henry M. Teller introduced a bill in Congress authorizing construction of the post, and it was signed in February 1887. A little over three acres was set aside in 1889 for a post cemetery. The first recorded burial in the post cemetery was Mable Peterkin, daughter of Private Peterkin, who died on June 28, 1889.

The first soldiers to arrive at the fort were members of the 18th Infantry from Fort Hays and Leavenworth, Kan., who immediately set up a temporary barracks and guardhouse while construction began on permanent facilities. The name of the fort, originally known as “the camp near the city of Denver,” became Fort Logan in August 1889. General John A. Logan had risen to the rank of Union Army general and commander of volunteer forces during the Civil War. As head of the post-war veteran’s organization the Grand Army of the Republic, he issued General Orders No. 11, establishing May 30 as “Decoration Day” to honor the Civil War dead. This later became a national holiday called Memorial Day.

Although 340 acres of land were added to the fort in 1908, by 1909 Fort Logan was reduced to a recruiting depot. This remained its sole function until 1922 when the 38th Infantry was garrisoned at what locals sometimes referred to as “Fort Forgotten.” Despite a brief resurgence of activity in the 1930s and early 1940s, Fort Logan closed in May 1946. In 1960, much of the land was deeded to the State of Colorado to establish a state hospital that still operates as the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan. On March 10, 1950, Congress authorized the use of military lands at Fort Logan as a national cemetery, but limited the size to no more than 160 acres. Since that time, the cemetery has expanded from the original 160 acres to 214 acres.

Monuments and Memorials

Fort Logan features a memorial pathway lined with a variety of memorials that honor America’s veterans from various organizations. There are 17 memorials at Fort Logan National Cemetery—most commemorating soldiers of various 20th-century wars.

Fort Lyons National Cemetery

Fort Lyon is located in Bent County, Colo., seven miles east of Las Animas. The fort was originally named Fort Wise in honor of Henry A. Wise, governor of Virginia. However, with the outbreak of the Civil War, it seemed inappropriate to have a Union fort named after the governor of a Southern state, and the name was changed. The new name Fort Lyon was chosen to honor Brevet Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, who was killed at the Battle of Wilson Creek on Aug. 10, 1861; he was the first Union general to die in battle.

Shortly after its establishment in 1887, Fort Lyon was moved to its current site just below the mouth of the Purgatoire River because floods at the original location threatened to destroy equipment and personal belongings. Within days of the move, the fort commander Captain Penrose began constructing new buildings. Fort Lyon is noted for being the last residence of the famous Army scout, trapper and adventurer, Christopher "Kit" Carson. Carson was brought to Fort Lyon's Dr. Henry Tilton for treatment of an illness that had been aggravated by a trip to Washington, D.C., during the proceeding winter on behalf of peaceable relations with the Ute Indians. Carson died of a ruptured aneurysm May 23, 1868.

The U.S. Army abandoned Fort Lyon in 1897 and its troops were transferred elsewhere. The remains of soldiers buried at the post were disinterred and moved to Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Nebraska. In 1906, the U.S. Navy took advantage of Colorado's mild, dry climate and opened a sanitarium for treating sailors and marines suffering from tuberculosis. On June 22, 1922, the Veteran's Bureau assumed operations and the hospital was opened to veterans from all branches of the service. In 1930, administration of the hospital was transferred to the newly created Veterans Administration and within three years the VA designated Fort Lyon a neuropsychiatry facility.

The original burials commenced in 1907 as the Naval hospital cemetery, and they continued under the Veteran's Bureau and Veterans Administration. Records indicate the first veteran interred at Fort Lyon was Youayoshi Hosi, a Japanese-American from Pennsylvania who served as a Navy warrant officer during the Spanish-American War. During World War I, German prisoners of war who had contracted tuberculosis were entitled to treatment in American hospitals under the Geneva Convention. A number of these prisoners resided at the Naval Hospital at Fort Lyon. Relations between German soldiers and the Americans were friendly and a custom was established for decorating the graves of two members of the German Imperial Navy interred in the national cemetery with the German flags on Memorial Day. The cemetery was transferred to the National Cemetery System in September 1973.

 Related Links

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  • Military Funeral Burial Honors Ceremony (VA)
  • Burial Headstone (VA)
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate (VA)

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