Military Honors at Fort Logan National Cemetery

It was a cold, snowy December day when a Vietnam Veteran, Air Force Staff Sergeant was laid to rest at Fort Logan National Cemetery. Here at this sacred, historic national cemetery where all gave some and some gave all, we honored his sacrifice for our country. The family invited the Patriot Guard Riders to stand guard in honor of their father. They rode their motorcycles with flags blowing in the winter wind from the chapel to the cemetery. The riders lined the street and sidewalk standing guard with their flags as family members and friends walked to his committal ceremony.  They stood there in the freezing cold throughout the entire service and didn’t leave until the last person said their goodbyes.

John was extremely patriotic and took great pride in serving his country. He is remembered for his passionate political debates and carefree spirit. He was a true mountain man who lived in a remote, rustic cabin in the high country. He hunted, hiked, fished and embraced everything the Rocky Mountains had to offer. His death was sudden and unexpected in a tragic accident on his motorcycle.

Military Honors were presented by the Air Force and a flag of the United States was given to his son. One of the Patriot Guard Riders recited a blessing and presented a plaque with a pin to the family.

His son Jay read the Airman’s promise to country and colleagues as a tribute for his Dad’s service to our country.

“I am an American Airman. I am a Warrior. I have answered my Nation’s call.

I am an American Airman. my mission is to fly, fight, and win.  I am faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor.

I am an American Airman, guardian of freedom and justice, my Nation’s sword and shield, its sentry and avenger. I defend my country with my life.

I am an American Airman: wingman, leader, warrior. I will never leave an airman behind, I will never falter, and I will not fail.”

My Dad lived by and cherished the US Air Force’s Core Values – Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do.

Everyone gazed up at the sky when a flock of geese flew over while Taps was performed by a bugler. I am a believer in signs from the other side and to me, that was a sign. For others, it may have been viewed as the geese were flying to a warmer place to have lunch. There is something so incredibly moving and emotional when Taps is played at a memorial service. A great deal of reverence and respect is observed and felt at a service with Military Honors.  It is a true honor and privilege to officiate ceremonies for those who serve our country.

Closing Thoughts

This grieving family engaged in my services for three ceremonies. The first one was a memorable Life Celebration at a chapel with stories, speakers, music, poems and prayer. The second one was a Committal Service that I wrote about in this blog. The third one was an uplifting Life Celebration at a venue in Evergreen, CO with food, drinks, stories, tears and laughter. Some of the family & friends went to all three services and others went to the ones they were able to attend. Although I usually do not know the family when we begin working together, I get to know them very well through the stories of their loved one. At the end of this long day, friends of John were asking me how I knew him and wondered if I was a relative. My heart is filled with gratitude that I am able to share my passion for creating meaningful, memorable ceremonies.

Contact Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, CO for information on Burials & Memorials.

Contact the Patriot Guard Riders and click on a Funeral Request or Memorial Mission at their website.

Evergreen Memorial Park was the perfect place to celebrate the life of this mountain man. The historic Barn provided a rustic, warm and inviting setting where everyone was comfortable to share stories while enjoying food and drinks.

Donations were made to The Wounded Warriors Project a cause that was so important to John. His legacy will live on as many Wounded Warriors continue to benefit from his years of helping them. Now, those who donate to this cause in his honor will continue his legacy.

Anita Larson is a Ceremony Leader and Officiant who blogs about her experiences with Celebrations of Life. Providing uncommon ideas and encouraging her readers to “Think Outside the Coffin®” when planning a Fabulous Farewell.

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