July 4th is a time to remember our great country’s history. That is, the belief that men and women have the right to live life as they see fit and that Kings and governments do not determine a person’s worth. England thought the men and women of the colony’s purpose was to fund the growing British Empire. We rebelled because an income was considered personal property and no King or government had the right to take that property without the owner’s consent.
The honorable men and women of our military give up a portion of their lives to help protect our freedoms and property from foreign and domestic enemies. We ask them to live in conditions we would never agree to. We ask them them to complete dangerous and difficult missions. We ask them to live a higher standard of life personally and professionally. We ask them to risk their lives to help assure that the enemy will not advance. We ask their mothers and fathers to sacrifice time without them. And we ask sons and daughters to give up quality time used for bonding in order to help protect their right to live.
It is only right that we not only honor them during their life but also during their funeral. The American military funeral bears witness to our American heritage and the military service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. In addition, it is a small token of thanks and appreciation of the sacrifice of the families that are left behind. Remember, military families not only sacrificed quality time with their solider but also risked their solider don’t coming back from their post.
“It is our national obligation to demonstrate the country’s gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country.” –Department of Defense Report to Congress on Military Funeral Honors for Veterans
I had the honor of photographing my stepfather Skip’s military funeral last year in California. He was a Marine Corporal who served faithfully and honorably in the Korean War. I’ve always been touched my military funerals because of the respect and honor that they give to families who are left behind.