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Old 03-24-2014, 18:05   #1
deutscheglocker
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Funeral gun salute

I was at the funeral for my neighbor today.

He was an Army vet who served in the Korean conflict.

We were at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in southwest Pa.

The honor guard chaplain let us know they were going to fire 3 rounds after which they folded the casings into the flag before presenting it to his wife.

My question is this.

Do they do this for every veteran? My wife was at one of her friends father's funeral at the same cemetery a while back and said they did not do this at that time.

I'm just curious as to what protocol is followed and if it differs depending on what branch a vet served in.

One of the only signs I saw along the road stated that no firearms were allowed on the property. I guess I never thought about it being on Federal property.
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Old 03-24-2014, 18:37   #2
ArtyGuy
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The answer to your question is no. A while back, the services imposed funeral detail limits (at least the Army did). The metric used was the distance required to travel. So if you're outside of the radius, the family has to coordinate for a group like the American Legion or VFW. Those groups may not always render a 21 gun salute. Army funeral details render the salutes. The rank of the veteran does not matter.
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Old 03-24-2014, 19:43   #3
Mush
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There are private groups of vets that volunteer their time as honor guard. The VFW and Legion are good contacts. I have been to several funerals were the honor guard gave the family comfort and the respect the service member deserved.
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Old 03-25-2014, 15:08   #4
AF-Odin
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Small point, but it is not a 21 gun salute which is reserved for a head of state. It is 3 Volleys which actually harkens back to the Romans (I know, well before firearms), but I believe the practice ws to recite "Vale, Vale, Vale" over the grave. Will look that up.

One source I found stated that it dated to Europe sometime in 16th or 17th century when, in the evening after the battle, each side would observe a cease fire to recover dead and wounded. Following the recovery of dead and wounded, each side would fire three volleys to signify that the dead were recovered and hostilities could then recommence
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Last edited by AF-Odin; 03-26-2014 at 16:51.. Reason: More information
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Old 03-25-2014, 16:56   #5
deutscheglocker
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Thanks for the responses.

I did some research and found that families can request a military funeral. Evidently, her friends family did not.

I should have paid attention to more detail.

The 2 officers who folded the flag were a Captain and a 1'st Lt. wearing berets. The Captain presented the flag to the wife. I'm assuming the officer officiating over one part of the short ceremony was a Chaplain. There were 3 others standing by the casket. Outside were at least 8 men with garands and one bugler.
One had a Stetson on but I didn't notice any specific rank insignia or color of cords as I wasn't aware what to look for.

All in all, it was moving to see that.

My wife asked me if I would want something like that.
I said hopefully not anytime in the near future.
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