have been in a few years — and the parents, wives,
It’s emotionally taxing but, at the same time, you see
the change, the emotional relief that we give them
through our brief services, and the Marines here in the
barracks give with their service. We do as much as we
can. We want to do more, but …
Weather is not a thing for us. Call us the Post Office.
We’re always open, always available for the families.
That’s a good thing. It’s something you have to get used
to, because we don’t get holidays off, as other Marines at
the barracks do. We’ll work through those. We’ll work
through snow, rain, sleet, cold, hot, doesn’t matter.
I tell my guys, the families came all the way out
here, from the Virginia area, my hometown in Miami,
or San Diego, so we’re going to go out there and give
them a ceremony to the best of our ability.
As the platoon sergeant, I take care of my guys
administratively. And on the funerals, I’m what we call
the senior man; I’ll be making all the calls, the only
Marine talking. And, when needed or appropriate, also
handing the flag off to family members.
It’s a learning experience. And every funeral is an
honor to be out there, especially the ones where you
can take charge and take that final flag pass.
I will finish my career at the barracks and will be
ESing [end of service] in July. I’ll be going back to
Miami, where winters aren’t as strong. Going to pursue
my degree and jump into law enforcement.
Although this is not something I planned to do, I
would fully recommend it to other Marines, just because
our core values are honor, courage and commitment, and
this is one of the most honorable things you can do.
What I tell the Marines that I’m in charge of, I say this
is a life-changing experience. To help these families in
the way that we do is something that nobody else in the
Marine Corps is going to have. It’s something that’s very
unique, and it’s an experience that will last.
The Marines are the only service that uses only six
body bearers, instead of eight. And we are the only service that does the final raise, where we lift the casket
above our heads, before placing it on the catafalque.
That’s where we get our saying: “We’ll be the last
ones to let you down.” ;
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