You Never Forget Your First… Funeral Service with Military Honors
I was told to observe, to pay attention. This was going to be my first funeral service.
It had been one week since I became an apprentice funeral director. I was but a mere 30 years old. Up until this point, I had almost zero experience with funerals. I had attended my great-grandmother’s funeral at age 25, but that was it. I was scared to say anything to anyone. I didn’t even know how to say anything to anyone, much less hello.
It’s a Funeral Directors’ job to let guests know where everything in the building is.
Come on in sir, or ma’am. From the guest registry, prayer cards, and bathrooms, to the family and other guests, the deceased (if they are laid out in a casket), and even the snacks or food. Perhaps you’d like to have us hang your coat for you? Maybe you’re wondering when the funeral service time is, or where the best seats are.
Funeral Directors do just that; they direct. They take control.
After being scared straight for a few hours, it was time to watch the Mass of Christian of Burial (Catholic Funeral Service).
Usually, Masses are about an hour, so after witnessing all that went on (another Atomic Essay for another night), it was time for Military Honors.
For those who are unaware, Military Honors are reserved for United States Veteran who have been Honorably Discharged. The surviving spouse (or eldest child) would receive a folded United States flag (triangle) and presented with a personal thank you from an active duty soldier (Branch of decedent, Army, Navy, Marines). Taps is played on a Bugle and there is a 3 Gun Volley Salute (rifle firing detail).
This was my first funeral, and the end almost broke me. Military Honors is one of the most powerful services one can witness firsthand. They still get me to this day. You never forget your first.
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