Hot Topic: No Honor in This Honor Guard
I have attended a military funeral. There’s nothing else quite like it – nothing that can quite prepare you for the emotion that stirs in your soul. It was heartbreaking, yet when the honor guard slowly walked out carrying the colors, my heart filled with pride and I wept. I was grateful for this young man’s service and even with all the mourning and sadness, there was a feeling of pride that could never be extinguished. I barely knew this Soldier, but my husband had deployed with him and I understood what the loss meant to him and the others in his Battalion. This was one of their brothers and although he was not lost in battle, he was still lost. His funeral was their solemn and heartfelt farewell. My husband was honored to be a part of the ceremony.
Providing military funeral honors illustrates the nation’s deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have loyally defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can offer to the veteran’s family. An honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran consists of at least two members of the Armed Forces. One member is a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail performs a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American Flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps (a recorded version is acceptable if a bugler is not available). The veteran’s parent Service representative presents the flag. Military honors are provided to the family at no cost. Soldiers generally volunteer for the detail and it is considered an honor and a privilege.
Unfortunately, that’s not the attitude we’ve seen this week from a few honor guard members who thought it would be funny to post disrespectful photos on social media.
One photo shows honor guard members grinning and posing in front of a casket draped with the American flag. The caption read “We put the FUN in funeral your fearless honor guard from various states.” Although the photo was taken at the National Guard Professional Education Center in Little Rock, Arkansas and the casket is presumed empty, there’s nothing funny about being insensitive and rude.
The other photo, posted on Instagram, is a selfie of a woman who appears to be in an honor guard with a caption that reads: “It’s so damn cold out…WHY have a funeral outside! Somebody’s getting a jacked up flag…”
These are supposed to be upstanding men and women who solemnly perform an incredibly difficult duty with honor and respect – not incite anger from fellow soldiers and the American public. I can’t imagine the hurt and anger these images caused our Gold Star families but they obviously weren’t thinking about them. There is no honor in this honor guard.
What are your thoughts behind the actions of these service members? Leave us your comments below…