Military Honors

Full military honors

I’m home from my uncle’s funeral. He was a World War II vet and served in the D-Day operation on Omaha Beach. Thus, he had full military honors at burial, which was pretty moving. There was a color guard, a flag draped coffin, flag folding, and presentation of the flag to his widow (he remarried after my Aunt Crystal died). After a comrades-in-arms read the honors, a rifle detail shot into the air, and someone played taps on the ceremonial bugle (how do you not cry during that?).

Military funeral

I may have a long list of grumbles and complaints about the way our government is running this country, but my Uncle Jack loved America and served it the best way he knew how. I know he was pleased that his fellow comrades in their starched uniforms were there for him, performing the honors that he himself had performed at funerals past.

Everyone complained about the snow and the cold, but it was several degrees warmer there than it is here, so I got to feel smug with my hardy acclimatization to arctic-like weather. Nevermind how much I complain about it at home. My poor cousins from San Diego, New Mexico, Texas, and other toasty-warm states were freezing. Some didn’t even own coats. My grandpa told one, “I’ll let you borrow my coat, but you can’t have my long johns.” Funny guy. I always like it when he cracks himself up.

He sure was toasty in his Russian-esque hat. Here he is with his oldest son, my papa – who is ever ready with the collapsable ear muffs he keeps in his pocket.

Dad & Grandpa

My sister has a funny write up of our drive back. We played a variation of 20 Questions / Animal, Vegetable, Mineral with our parents, and it was pretty entertaining. I think mom won with the hardest thing to guess. Her item was a bandaid – we knew it was plastic and could be circular, and flat. We also knew it had other components that could be removed, and that the thing as a whole could be used on the body. I had this bizarre picture in my head of a hard plastic disc, like a tiddlywink, with brush-like pines that could come out. So funny! The other hard one was my dad’s. He thought of a pencil ferrule. Something we didn’t even know the name of, but I think my sister finally guessed it by exclaiming, “That metal thing that holds the eraser to the pencil!”

Good times. It sure made the hours-long ride home go by quicker.

Cuzins

It sure was nice to see all those far-away cousins. (Thanks for the above pic, Yvonne!) I know Jack was pleased his funeral turned into a wonderful family reunion, and I hope he smiled down on us that day.

I was offline all weekend! It sure was a lovely break. I think my email account is all sorted, so if I owe you a reply, I’ll get on that quick as a bunny.

Comments

  1. says

    I love full military burial honors. My grandfather received the same and both Jeff and I bawled at Taps and the presenting of the flag to my grandmother.

    I’m glad the drive home was enjoyable. Love the “Russian-esque” hat. :)

    • says

      Goosebumps all over. It’s such a wonderful service, I don’t think I’d ever seen one before.

      I *need* one of those hats! Either that or a Peruvian ear flap one. You know, for going out to the mailbox.

  2. Grandma Debbie says

    Beautiful post, sweetie. Love the pictures! Especially of Dad and Grandpa. And you four cousins. (Who took such a gorgeous shot?) So glad you came down and came with us! xoxoxox

    • says

      Oh, ha ha! I was scratching my head trying to think of who took the photo and it was YOU of course. You’re even funnier than I am. :o)

  3. Kristin H says

    I just want to say that your head does not look enormous in that picture. Someone must have given you a complex about it at some point! :-)

    • says

      Ha ha ha! They did. Never get into modeling when you’re still in your teens and all impressionable. At least I didn’t say anything disparaging about by uneven jaw? I wanted to… but I didn’t.

      But seriously, mostly I think it’s funny. A tiny head would look silly on my body, this I know. And my mom says I’m pretty, so really, that’s all that matters. (I crack myself up. I think I might be funnier in person when people can see that I’m not totally serious about the head thing.)

  4. says

    I’ve never been to a military funeral. I cheered on a friend at the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C., a month after 9/11, and just cried and cried. Seeing entire groups of Marines and Army, running in step for an entire marathon, just made me proud. I’m so thankful for those who serve our country.

    My kids call my husband/their dad “papa”. I like that:)

    • says

      I call him ‘daddy’ still too. Sometimes it just comes out, he doesn’t seem to mind :o)

      • Grandma Debbie says

        He actually loves it when his girls call him “daddy.”

  5. Emmaline E. says

    I’ve been to military funerals and spent some time at military bases, and Taps gets me every time. The piercing simplicity of a melody that has sent soldiers to bed for decades is even more eloquent when sending a soldier to his final resting place. I’m sorry for your family’s loss, and thank your uncle (posthumously) for his service to our country.

    • says

      Yes. And that lone bugle. It’s something else.

      Thank you, gratefully he’d been declining for some time, it was a good, peaceful passing.

      Edit: ‘gratefully’ meaning, you know, that it wasn’t a tragic death of someone in their prime.

  6. says

    I attended a military funeral for the first time in December and couldn’t help but cry listening to Taps and watching those soldiers fold up the flag for my friend’s newly-widowed mother. You can’t help but feel the presence of every other soldier, living and dead, when you hear it played.

    I’m sorry you lost your uncle, but I am glad that his body and soul are at peace.

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