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No matter how many times you see it, the flag-folding ceremony at the funeral of a veteran is powerful and emotional.
The most recent one I saw was performed by U.S. Marines in their dress blues, perhaps the most iconic uniform in all the U.S. military. The daughter of the deceased, the recipient of the flag, was, understandably, weeping.
I looked around the funeral home and saw very few dry eyes among the other attendees as well.
At this particular funeral, the deceased was 89 and had lived a long, full, happy life.
The ceremony is even more gut-wrenching when the soldier, sailor, Marine or airman is struck down in combat, in the prime of life.
While Veterans Day is the day we remember all U.S. military members, Memorial Day is set aside to specifically honor those who died in service to country. The families of those men and women are recognized as Gold Star families.
The most recent Las Crucen to die in combat was Antonio Rey Rodriguez, who passed Feb. 8, 2020, in Afghanistan. Rodriguez’s mother, family and friends have built a foundation to carry on his legacy, at www.arrfoundation.org. A golf tournament May 6 here in Las Cruces further added to the foundation.
Prior to that tournament, the local Marine Corps League detachment provided a gun salute to Rodriguez.
In our fast-paced, live-online, no-quiet-moments world, there seems to be very little room for ceremony. But this Memorial Day, let’s set aside at least a moment of silence for our fallen.
A good meditation would be to look at the page from the Mesilla Valley Military Order of the Purple Heart in this edition of the Bulletin listing those from the region who were lost in battle. Also powerful is the actual meaning of the 13 folds of the funeral flag ceremony, listed below.