The Difference Between Color Guard & Honor Guard

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has a round-the-clock honor guard.
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The pomp and precision of military ceremonies is inspirational, largely due to the presence of honor and color guards. Civilians unclear about the difference between the two should take a tip from their names.

1 Composition of an Honor Guard

An honor guard honors an individual or group by standing watch during a ceremony, by accompanying and conveying deceased service members or veterans at funerals and burials, and by firing volleys to honor the deceased when appropriate. The honor guard may be comprised of three groups. The first is the color guard, which presents or carries the national or state colors, or flags, at military ceremonies such as promotions and funerals. The second is the body guard, which escorts the person being honored, whether living or deceased, and carries the casket at a military funeral or burial. The body guard also folds and presents the veteran’s casket-draping flag to a widow or other survivor. Finally, the seven-member firing party provides three volleys to honor the fallen.

Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.