It is a foggy morning at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Bucks County, Pa. Robert Crossett, a member of the Guardians of the National Cemetery tells me that this was the 6,510 burial of a veteran. It is a special one for him. Melvin Shomper, U.S. Air Force and his wife, Ruth, are Robert’s uncle and aunt.
A half hour before the family and remains arrive at the committal shelter, the mood of the Guard is light, but serious. They are a tightly knit group of friends. As the time gets closer, Ken Myerson directs the formation of the Honor Guard. They stand at attention as the deceased and family drive past. Shots ring out as they salute the service of the veteran and Kathi McCall plays taps on the bugle. Robert and two members of the Honor Guard fold the American Flag and present it to the family. It is a bittersweet moment, filled with both loss and pride.
The Honor Guard are present at every military burial at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery. With solemnity and gravity, they provide every vet with recognition and dignity. The cemetery gives the rest of us a place to come and to remember and honor the military service of all the veterans buried there.
Events are scheduled at the cemetery, the next being Wreaths Across America on December 14. At noon, wreaths will be placed on grave sites at this national cemetery, and national cemeteries across the country. For more information visit: Washington Crossing National Cemetery and Wreaths Across America.
Correction: In a previous version of this article, a member of the Honor Guard was misidentified. Robert Crossett is the correct name.