Friday, May 1, 2009
April 29, 2008 - Military Honors Ceremony - Folding and Presenting the Flag and Ceremonial Shell Casings
At the committal shelter, the honor guard had first placed the folded flag on the platform against Leif's urn and saluting before offering us the opportunity to participate. After we did, they performed a rifle salute, firing three guns, and a bugler played taps. I will post those photos tomorrow because they seem to go fittingly with the end of the ceremony.
Then they unfolded the flag and did the folding ceremony and passed the flag to Peter Anthony, who gave it to me with the words they had told him to use, "This flag is presented to you with the thanks of a grateful nation for the service of your son. May he rest in peace." I don't know how hard it was for him to do that, but he did it beautifully. I was crying.
What I didn't expect was what came next. One of the honor guard soldiers came and leaned over to me and put three ceremonial shell casings into my hand and said, "These represent duty, honor, country." He closed my hand over them and saluted.
The flag and the shell casings are now in the beautiful flag case that Melissa Palenske gave us, with the engraved plate she made for it. I posted photos of it earlier.
This honor guard is one of many in the USA. They are all trained to exacting standards and use the same ceremony as the one at Arlington National Cemetery. They travel to many place, serving several counties. They are professional and caring. I can't imagine how hard it must be to do so many of these ceremonies, day after day, for grieving families. Many thanks to Sgt. Paul and his honor guard unit for doing this duty for us.