Last June, Kristin and I were overseas when my Grandpa, George Spear, died. As funeral arrangements were being made, I was asked what I thought about having military rites at the cemetery. My emailed response was:
“He served in the military and deserves the honor (despite the fact that he always downplayed his service because he didn’t serve overseas). He is due this honor so I would vote yes.”
Well, that response made our decision – we had full military honors at the cemetery.
Any veteran who has served in the United States Armed Forces and was honorably discharged is entitled to have military honors at his/her funeral. George was called up in one of the last drafts at the end of World War II, but he was never deployed overseas because the war ended. When he would talk about his service, George always made the distinction between his service and that of those who were sent to Europe and the Pacific. While he downplayed his own experiences in the United States Army, I had the opportunity to hear him encourage a family to have military rites because it was an honor due to all veterans. That has stayed with me since my college days and is why I encourage families to have this final honor for their loved one’s service, even if they only served a short time or during peacetime.
Funeral Military Honors are generally conducted at the graveside. After the conclusion of any religious services, the honor guard will remove the flag that is draped over the casket and will fold and present it to the family. Once the flag has been presented, a three volley gun salute is fired and the service is conclude with the playing of Taps by the bugler.
As a funeral director, I have attended countless services where military honors were performed, yet I still get chills every time Taps is played. It is a powerful tribute honoring a veteran’s service to our nation. Military Funeral Honors is something that we would arrange for the family.
To view military rites at the cemetery, watch this video of the funeral military honors for George H. Spear conducted on July 1, 2013 at Greenmount Cemetery by American Legion Post #37 and the Illinois Military Funeral Honor Guard from Macomb, Illinois.
To view military rites at the cemetery, watch this video of the funeral military honors for George H. Spear conducted on July 1, 2013 at Greenmount Cemetery. The military honors were performed by the Quincy American Legion Post #37, the Illinois Military Funeral Honor Guard from Macomb, and buglers Beth Young and Sammy Flentje.
The reading at the beginning of the service:
Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.
He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down:
he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
For as much as God has taken out of this world
the soul of our departed comrade,
we therefore commit his body to the ground to sleep
and his soul to endless peace and rest.
The dust returneth to the earth as it was,
and the spirit returneth to God who gave it.