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Honor Guard 101: Urn Procedures

Honor Guard 101: Urn Procedures

Members of the Fairfax County Honor Guard

Lt. Ken Baine | Fairfax County Police Department

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In this article I will talk about the honors given to a fallen officer who is cremated. As Honor Guard commanders you should make contact with the funeral director to see what type of urn the family has selected; urns come in all shapes, sizes and weights. A folded National Flag should be dropped off at the funeral home prior to the family’s arrival. Inside the church two stands should be in place in front of the altar, one for the urn and one for the flag. We use a cherry wood easel to hold the flag in place.

The family normally arrives at the church with the urn long before the service starts. Most urns are transported to the church in a family vehicle, but for a Line of Duty funeral, I recommend a hearse to transport the officer’s remains. Once they arrive, the vehicle door should be opened by the funeral director and two Honor Guard team members should march up to the car and family and render a hand salute. First team member should take the National Flag and touch it to the urn. Then the second team member should take possession of the urn. The team member with the National Flag will march first toward the church and should carry the flag as shown in the picture. The other team member follows behind with the urn.

The urn is always set down first on the stand to the right when facing the altar. Then, the National Flag is touched on the urn and displayed on the stand to the left. Once the flag and urn are in place, both team members should render a hand salute, take one step backward, do an about face, and march out of the church.

After the service, both team members march in and stop in front of the National Flag and urn. They should render a hand salute. The National Flag is touched to the urn first and held as shown in the picture. Then the urn is picked up and both team members take one step backward and do an about face. The team member holding the National Flag steps off first followed by the team member with the urn.

Most of the time, the family will take the urn home in the family vehicle. If the urn is to be buried or placed in a mausoleum, you can elect to refold the flag over the urn prior to presenting it to the family or present the already folded flag to the family once the graveside service is over.

I imagine most Honor Guards do not routinely practice for this type of funeral service so it is important to have a procedure in place in the event that your fallen officer or retiree is cremated.


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  • 373046_26738651698_2132900450_q_1__max50

    SE851

    10 months ago

    25130 Comments

    Lt. K. Baine can be proud of his people.Kudos to youyr crew sir.

  • 373046_26738651698_2132900450_q_1__max50

    SE851

    10 months ago

    25130 Comments

    Mighty sharp outfit.You leos are to be commended for have a very professional crew.

  • Keawmanee_max50

    timk23666

    10 months ago

    146 Comments

    Lt,

    Thank you for this article. We actually are doing a cremation funeral for one of ours tomorrow. Ret Abilene Police Sgt David Fuller. May he rest well. Much appreciated Sir!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    This article has opened my eyes of the work that goes into all the services for a fallen Officer. Thank you Lt

  • Bronzestarribbon_max50

    csiguy

    over 4 years ago

    874 Comments

    Very informative, thanks LT.

  • Apex_20pd_20fb_2001012138_1_

    APEXPROUD

    about 5 years ago

    4396 Comments

    GREAT ARTICLE

  • Usmc_max50

    coyote3530

    over 5 years ago

    302 Comments

    "I imagine most Honor Guards do not routinely practice for this type of funeral service so it is important to have a procedure in place in the event that your fallen officer or retiree is cremated." Actually, we have never trained for this. Thank you for posting this article and letting us know of the proper procedure.

  • Dscn1003_max50

    Cavett697

    over 5 years ago

    1416 Comments

    I found this article very informative and did not realize there was a procedure for fallen officers or retirees who are cremated.

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