Military.com, The American Legion |
I went to my first military funeral in November 2003. A local newspaper wrote that Jacob Fletcher, a 28-year-old private from Long Island, N.Y., was being buried with military honors at the national cemetery in Pinelawn. U.S. troops had already died in Iraq, and I believed deeply that their sacrifice was important, that their deaths should not be ignored.
The ceremony itself was brief. A lone bugler played Taps, an honor guard of seven soldiers fired their rifles into the air three times for a 21-gun salute, and the U.S. flag covering the casket was carefully folded and presented to Fletcher’s family. A military funeral has the feeling of having been designed while at war, under fire, and lasts at the gravesite about eight minutes.