Thursday, June 10, 2004

Military honors 

While discussing all of the solemn ceremony surrounding Ronald Reagan's passing, such as his flag-draped casket lying at his Presidential Library, and then being transported to Washington, where it now lies in state at the Capitol building, a friend asked me a question.

"How do they decide who in each branch of the military gets to participate in that whole process?"

I gave some vague answer about ceremonial units, composed of tall, fit, disciplined men and women whose sole job is to look sharp and perform crisply when called upon.

Then I found a better, more complete answer to my friend's question. The Washington Post has an article written by a man who used to be one of those ceremonial soldiers. It's a fascinating look into what it's like for those men in uniform you see standing at attention around Reagan's casket.

On a personal note, now that I've read this piece, I wish to retract every complaint I ever made about dress parades and uniform inspections at Annapolis, or about having to stand in one place for an hour last weekend at a retirement ceremony. I've had it easy.
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