Commemorating our veterans

As Memorial Day 2018 draws near, it seems timely to review the common method and words commemorating our deceased veterans, those serving on behalf of our freedoms.

Practices illustrated during ceremonies and flag presentations during military funerals show our appreciation for those lost members. Special expressions from Honor Guards and others honor those veterans. Explaining origin of these ceremonial activities seems in order as follows:

Participants are called to attention as the casket is carried to the burial site. The 21-gun salute occurs with the flag folded and presented to the surviving family.

Locally, I as Honor Guard adviser and presenter, along with Honor Guard members in 1955 developed words and procedures for those flag presentations at veterans’ military funerals. Our government certified them in 2015. It goes like this:

“On behalf of the U.S. Government and a grateful nation, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, I present you this flag under which he (or she) so proudly served.”

Then the presenter steps back and the projectiles (spent rifle bullets) are presented to the family. An envelope of token respect is also presented to the family. A final statement is spoken as follows:

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard but always near. So, loved, so missed, so very dear.

“All gave some, some gave all. Please honor the services that were given by our veterans.”