The family of a local veteran wants to know how the Honor Guard could be a no-show at his funeral. Wilburn Chester Rucker served 27 years in the Army National Guard. His widow expected full military honors, the folded flag, and other respects at the grave site.
It was Wilburn Rucker’s final wish to have a military style funeral, to be put to rest with something he loved so much, the United States Army National Guard.
“He would have loved the Taps and all that, but it didn't happen that way,” said Barbra Rucker, the widow of Wilburn Rucker.
Barbra Rucker expected to be presented with the United States flag for her husband's service. “Very sad moment, we had a beautiful funeral and we'd like to finish out the way it was supposed to go. How we had it planned.”
The Honor Guard was scheduled but when the family arrived to the Edgeman Cemetery the guard was nowhere to be seen. “I said what are we going to do? They said we are going to wait awhile and see if they do come, they may be late. I said I hope that is it. But we found out, that wasn't it.”
The funeral director blames miscommunication. “It was faxed to a wrong number. Where did these orders go? They even called Friday to confirm, and they assured yes they had them and yes they'll be there.”
Rucker's daughter is upset knowing there's no such thing as do-overs for a funeral. “Anger, pain, and hurt. This was for him. He gave so many years and so much time, and they couldn't give him 10 minutes,” said Kim Freeman. Freeman just wanted the recognition her father deserves; a military gun salute and military honors. “It is disrespectful, dishonorable; I don't want any other family going through the hurt and the pain we felt at the grave site. That what he gave his time for wasn't going to happen.”
While Channel 3 was at the Rucker’s home, representatives from the National Guard sent an email apologizing to the family. They say they are willing to do a memorial service for Wilburn, but the family said “it's just a little too late.”