Burial with Military Honors

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All honorably discharged veterans in the US have a legal right to military honors at burial.

My father, Joseph Lippin, was a WWII veteran. He served in the Army as a clerk in both the American and European theaters from his draft in 1944-1946.

He always questioned his military honor, since he was so scared to even be there. I used to tell him that surviving that kind of ordeal and sticking it out when you are scared and don't want to be there is actually MORE honorable than for those who are more confident around violence and death.

Yesterday at his burial we arranged for military honors. His casket wore an American Flag, with the stars at his head.

When we arrived at the grave, there were two members of the US Army 3rd Regiment (the Old Guard) on guard. After we said Kaddish, they started to play a recording of Taps. They saluted my father, picked up the flag, and began a ceremonial fold, in which the flag is folded into 13 triangles that represent the original 13 colonies.

Then one guard came over and saluted me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and saluted the young soldier back while thanking him for his service.

He then spoke,

This flag is presented on behalf of the President of the United States, a grateful nation, and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.

And handed me the folded flag. Now I have my dad's flag.

It was a lovely, moving ceremony that made me feel so connected to history. And gave me a sense of closure.