If it's wrong, I've probably said it...
Last one this cycle
Published on October 31, 2006 By chiprj In Blogging

Well, another funeral detail cycle has come and gone. We had a busy last week on duty, though. There were two full honors services last Friday and then a two man service on Monday.

The service on Monday was actually for a retired Sailor of 22 years but it was being held in a funeral home in downtown Salinas and the funeral home recommended to the family that they not have rifles fire in the middle of town (the funeral home was located just a block away from the John Steinbeck Library, which earned fame about a year ago because the city considered closing it down due to lack of funds - just an odd trivia note for you out there). So, instead of taking a full honors team out there, it was just a two man honors.

The services were held in the small chapel in the funeral home. We got there early (as usual) and got to see the set up. The flag was pre-folded and placed on a small table in an upright holder next to some pictures. We were told that the body had been cremated and the ashes were to be spread at sea. Both the bugler and I were introduced the the widow and she talked to us a bit about her husband and thanked us for being there. She told us that he would have been very happy to know that we were there.

The chapel quickly filled up and the funeral director had to set up a number of chairs in the back area. We ended up having to move out of the back of the chapel and into the entrance to the funeral home in order to make room for everyone that came.

The service was nice. A number of people shared stories and then a short slideshow/video was played. The minister concluded the service with a closing prayer and then asked everyone to stand for the military honors. Because of how full the chapel was, the bugler had to move about half way up the main aisle and play from the middle of the chapel. Normally, we like for them to be in the back of the church because even when the volume is turned all the way down, it still is quite loud. Also, by standing in the back, they can stand at an angle away from most of the people and there is less of a chance of someone seeing the device inside the cone. The bugler told me that most everyone stayed facing forward towards me as I saluted and that he didn't think anyone looked over to see the device, though, so I guess his position was ok.

After Taps, the funeral director asked everyone to sit. I took the flag from the holder and moved to the front bench seat and took a knee to present the flag to the widow. She thanked me again for being there and her children, all older than me, also thanked me for being there. I then saluted and moved back down the aisle and out the back of the chapel. I met the bugler in the entrance area of the funeral home and after saying goodbye to the funeral director, we headed out to the parking lot and then home.

We'll have our last practice today as we hand the detail off to a new crew of people. Most of the NCOs coming on this new cycle have had it before, so there won't be too much to go over with them.

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My Ecosystem Details

on Oct 31, 2006
I can see where the duty can have its rewards. Still, I know the families appreciate the attention in their hour of grief.
on Dec 28, 2006