Last Thursday we put my grandfather to rest. As a United States Air Force retiree he qualifed for a military service.
I have to say that the service was nothing like you see in movies and on tv. In true military fashion it is very regimented. There is a specific time that you get and you must arrive in time to adhere to the schedule.
My grandfather is in Tahoma National cemetery. It's really quite large and very well kept. Services are officiated by local VFW members and most of the staff are veteran volunteers.
The actual internment is held for family and friends in a private vestibule shelter on site. There is a presentation of the flag for our service as grandpa was creamated. If this had been a casket service the flag would be drapped over the casket. Then there is a 21 gun salute and a playing of taps as the flag is refolded and presented to the family.
The flag presentation and 21 gun salute are provided by current enlisted servicemen that have been assigned to the national cemetary.
Once taps is done and the flag has been presented armed forces staff from the cemetary take the body, or in grandpa's case his ash container, away to be placed at the final resting place.
The VFW volunteer then provides a map with the location of where your soldier will be.
All this in 30 minutes.
No one want to lose a family member, but if they are in the military I do recommend that if you have the opportunity to attend a military service that you do so. The camaraderie that these strangers had for my grandfather as a fellow serviceman is something that you can't put into words and something that can't be taken away.