Final Salute


We stood in silence, and still as statues, this crowd who had gathered to lay a good man to rest.  The young men entered the pavilion, raised the flag from the coffin, while another uniformed man played a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Taps.  The sun shone brightly on this winter day as the two young men ceremoniously folded the flag, and we all stood at attention taking pride in the grand tradition.

When the flag was folded into the triangle, the stars shining on the blue background, the white gloved hands giving the final inspection, I witnessed something I’d never seen before.  This brave young man gave the command… “Refold”.

And with the same precision and detail given to the folding, the attendees sharing the same silence and dignity, he backed up one calm step at a time, then began the folding process anew.

I’m quite sure those young men were disappointed it wasn’t their best the first time.  I, on the other hand, am thankful I was given the opportunity be part of this scene.  The composure was magnificent.  What a wonderful message given to this veteran’s family.  The final salute would not be given until perfection had been achieved.


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