I have found that when I grocery shop on Friday as I plan to do today, it’s pretty crazy if I wait too long. So I’m going to try to keep the time I work on my blog short.
At the funeral yesterday I was pretty impressed with the way this group of people chose to remember Harry Hatch, the man who died.
In the morning, the family had a private prayer service and put his ashes where he asked. Later they were talking about it. His ashes are near his mother’s who died pretty recently. His sisters all agreed they could hear their mother’s voice in their heads saying, “Harry! What are you doing here?”
I heard this repeated throughout the afternoon with each person saying it in a precise imitation of Harry’s mom.
The memorial began at the VFW bar. People were sitting around. Some were nursing drinks. After a while, the VFW rep quietened down the group and did the standard VFW memorial.
If you’ve never seen it, it consists of several Veterans marching to where the flag is laying and saluting it and the shrine for the dead Veteran. Two remain, on either side of the shrine. One gives speeches, the other prays. The speeches seem to be made to order for a memorial for a veteran and are read or said from memory. I’ve seen several of these and the speeches don’t seem to vary from funeral to funeral. The prayers are a bit more free and probably left up to the chaplain.
Then, the remaining veterans who have quietly marched outside and prepared to do so, fire a 21 gun salute. Then taps is played.
It is much more moving when Taps is played live than a recording is used.
Yesterday they had a live player. When I was talking to relatives about it, they seemed surprised that anything other than live music was used. I found that charming.
Then the flag is presented to a member of the family and they are thanked for the service of deceased. In this case Harry was a Marine and probably served in Vietnam.
Then everyone was invited to walk across the street to the VFW rec hall where a meal would be served. It was announced that all drinks would be a dollar for the rest of day in honor of Harry.
Harry lived next door to these buildings and worked as a bartender for the VFW.
At the rec center, many were drinking White Zinfandel which was Harry’s drink.
There was much weeping and hugging in the middle of conversations. I am present at many funerals and I was impressed with the way this one worked.
At one point every one toasted Harry.