Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
Section E, Grave 179
example of the military funeral ceremony given the Z Square 7 crew at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery is shown here.
While there may have been a few minor changes to the ceremony because of the weather conditions, but basically the protocol
honoring these men remained the same. Family members attending the funeral services included my stepfather, Peter Demers
from Lynn, Ma. as well as Lt. Robert Phillips, the only survivor of the Z Square 7 crew.
weather in Louisville, Ky on Tuesday, October 4, 1949 was 67 degrees with rain and fog. The weather got increasingly rainy
and foggy for the next few days as the effects of a hurricane were felt. Hurricane #10 went on shore in Louisiana as a Category
4 but quickly dissipated to a tropical storm and a tropical depression by the time it reached the Chicago area.
|Rostrum (pavilion) at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
Armstrong’s son remembers attending the interment services at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. He recalls, “I
was at the funeral for the crew in Louisville. My grandparent took me there from San Antonio. Of course I was very young and
remember only bits and pieces. I remember the rifle shots and the old pavilion where the services were held. I have the most
vivid recollections of the drive as it was the first time I’d been anywhere. It stormed and flooded the whole way there.”
The band plays as mourners arrive and take their seats.
The hearse arrives at the gravesite..
When the families are ready to proceed, the non-commissioned officer-in-charge
(NCOIC) will signal the pallbearers to withdraw the casket
from the hearse and carry it to the grave.
On NCOIC command, all detail participants (except
for the pallbearers) will come to “Attention” and “Present Arms” as the casket is carried to
The band plays a hymn as the casket is removed from the hearse.
Chaplain leads the way to gravesite, followed by casket team.
The pallbearers carry the casket, feet first, to the grave. Upon reaching the
grave, the casket is placed on the lowering device. After the casket is placed over the
grave, the pallbearers march from the casket to become the firing
party. They execute a facing movement
and march off in two ranks toward the designated firing party
location. While marching, the pallbearers merge into single file
in order to form one rank, 45 degrees off the foot of the casket. The firing party commander
is positioned on the opposite flank or centered to the rear of the
formation. At that time, the firing party commander will command the firing party
to unstack their weapons, which have been pre-positioned under guard at the gravesite.
All detail participants will “Order
Arms” after the casket has been placed on the lowering device.
The NCOIC ensures the flag is stretched out and level, and centered
over the casket. When the U.S. flag covers the casket, it is placed so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder.
It is not placed in the grave and is not allowed to touch the ground.
When the casket is placed over the grave, the band
commander "Cuts Off" the band, "Faces About", and "Salutes". Instruments remain in playing position. The NCOIC
commands "Order Arms" and the band commander and drum
major terminate their salutes. Band members execute "Instruments Down" on the command of "Order Arms."
The NCOIC moves
from his place at the head of the casket in order to permit the
chaplain to conduct the graveside service. He
should move to a location where he still faces
the family, but does not interfere with the service.
the religious service, all the detail participants go to “Parade Rest"
The Chaplain performs the religious service
and concludes with the Benediction.
Chaplain concludes his service and backs away from the head of the grave. The NCOIC and assistant will
assume the chaplain’s position at the head
of the grave and all detail participants will come to the position of “Attention” followed by "Escort, Present Arms".
The band commander and drum major "Salute". The mourners
are asked to stand for the rendering of honors.
On the Rifle Detail Leader’s command "Ready!
Aim! Fire!" each rifle volley will be fired. The firing party fires three volleys
and, at the command of the Rifle Detail Leader,
assumes the position of “Present Arms.”
Immediately after the firing party
has been brought to "Present Arms", the bugler sounds
At the conclusion of "Taps", the bugler "Salutes"and
holds his salute until the firing party is brought to order arms.
The firing party
comes to "Order Arms" at the command of
the firing party commander, and restack their
weapons in a ceremonial manner. After the stacking of weapons is completed, the firing
party forms into two ranks and marches in
the most direct route back to the lowering device platform so they
can perform the ceremonial folding of the interment
flag. The NCOIC asks the mourners to be seated. The
band plays appropriate music as the flag is folded.
"The flag folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our country was originally
founded. The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing the states our veterans
served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted when draped as a pall on a casket of
a veteran who has served our country in uniform.
- In the Armed Forces of the United States, at the ceremony of retreat the flag is lowered, folded in
a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The next morning it is
brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body."
The pallbearers raise the
flag from the casket and hold it in a horizontal position waist high and complete the
folding sequence without letting the flag touch the casket and the Senior Pallbearer reciting
"Why The American Flag Is Folded Thirteen Times!"
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of
their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn
in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing
with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United
States Of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for
The seventh fold
is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all
her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the
light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion
that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense
of our country since they were first born.
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King
Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes,
God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of
the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones,
who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights,
privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.
As the flag is folded, it
is passed to the senior pallbearer at the head of the casket, who makes the final tuck.
After the flag is folded, the senior
pallbearer executes a "Right Face" and places the flag at chest level into the hands of the NCOIC. The NCOIC salutes the flag for three seconds before accepting
it from the senior pallbearer. The senior pallbearer salutes the flag for three
seconds after presenting it to the NCOIC. The NCOIC then moves by the most direct route to the chaplain who is
to receive the flag.
The Casket team leaves the gravesite.
The chaplain will present a flag to each family.
"On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the
Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of 1/Lt
Eugene M. Thomas Jr, 2/Lt Francis X. Glacken, 2/Lt Norman B. Bassett, 1/Lt William H. Hain, M/Sgt Richard C. Armstrong, T/Sgt
Bishop K. Mitchell Jr, S/Sgt Sam H. Bradford, Sgt John F. Slater, Sgt George P. Demers, and Sgt Louis A. Dorio. God
bless you, God bless their families, and God bless the United States of America."
and the NCOIC offer condolences to the immediate
families and other mourners seated in the front row.
Once condolences have been offered, the
NCOIC will return to the cortege
arrival point and await the departure of the cortege. The
bugler, pallbearers, and band remain in position until the families move from the gravesite. After the presentation is completed, the NCOIC marches
the pallbearers and the bugler away from the gravesite and toward the stacked weapons.
At the first "Halt", the rifles of the
firing party are then cleared and inspected, which concludes the ceremony.
On the command of the NCOIC
the entire formation faces the direction of march and all units move from the gravesite.
A military guard remains with
the casket until it is lowered.