Expert Author Ed Kugler
It was a warm spring day in Spokane, Washington on Saturday, May 5. Remaining with 200 others, we quietly looked as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Teacher, Friend and individual Marine was going to be let go. Among the 200 spectators were 12 United States Marine Corps Scout-Snipers who'd went from Virginia, Oregon, Washington, Texas, California and Montana to offer their regards to a fallen Brother, Sergeant Gary R. Reiter, fourth Marines, two visits in Vietnam. 

Seven Marines from the nearby Marine Corps League were called to consideration, at that point position and directed, "Discharge," and the respectful quietness of the evening air broke like shoddy glass by the report of seven rifles shot as one. The convention of the 21 weapon salute is an old, old military custom going back to the 1200's the point at which it was utilized to flag from one ship to the next that it implied no malevolence. 

The direction could be heard, "Shoot" indeed and the quiet was pierced by the rifle's release. The convention turned out to be progressively institutionalized after some time and developed to the present day routine with regards to 21 weapons. 

For the third time, "Discharge" and the seven firearms had reverberated their last report. Current guidelines accommodate a 21 firearm salute we had quite recently seen for a President or other Head of State, 19 weapons for a Vice President and down from that point. The custom of giving a 21 firearm salute to a fallen administration part is said to accord a similar regard as the country and President he served. 

It wasn't my first military memorial service and won't be my last. Following two years in Vietnam, my adored Marine Corps appointed me to a Reserve Center in a city of around 150,000 where we had a 100-mile span to deal with administrations for our Brothers murdered in Vietnam. I told the terminating squad for the salute. It was an unexpected view in comparison to the one I'd had in battle. Four months and 19 burial services later I was truly numb to the ceremony and condition encompassing the entire undertaking. For a long time I would not go to any memorial services. 

I knew very well that the playing of Taps came straightaway. A long time back, remaining off out yonder with my Firing Squad, I knew whether individuals endured the Salute, they would not endure Taps without bellowing their eyes out. The playing of Taps dated back to the Civil War when Union General Daniel Butterfield looked for an increasingly sweet tune to flag time for bed. His troops were exhausted following sevens days of fights close Richmond. 

General Butterfield himself revamped the song with his criminal, Private Oliver Wilcox Norton and the new 24 note tune rapidly spread all through the Army including the Confederates. It wasn't long after that Taps played at the memorial service of a fallen Union cannoneer. His Commanding Officer, Captain John Tidball, chose the playing of Taps would be more secure on the war zone than the standard discharging of three rifle volleys over the grave. 

The beginning of the name Taps accompanies some disarray. Before the cornet get for lights out drummers played three rhythms or taps, which is accepted by numerous individuals to be the source. Yet, on this day, May 5, 2018, there was no perplexity as the Marine Bugler ended the quietness with 24 ideal notes for Gary. In the event that there were dry eyes in the group, they were not many on this day. 

There was quiet as consideration moved to his Widow, his Son, and his Mother. Remaining before them the two Marines relegated started the troublesome errand of collapsing the banner for introduction to Gary's widow, Susan, who remained by him through various challenges during their 47 or more years bound together in an eternity marriage. Gary was no ideal man, yet at that point, nor are you and I. 

Two consummately dressed youthful Marines arranged to crease the banner, a custom started during the Napoleonic Wars. At the point when the banner is set over a shut coffin, it is laid with the goal that the association, or blue shield, is at the head and over the left shoulder of the expired, said to grasp the perished who in life served the banner. At the point when the banner is expelled it is held midriff high over the grave where the collapsing happens. 

The family and dear companions sitting close by, overpowered in their anguish, are frequently uninformed that every last one of the 13 folds conveys a specific significance. On this day 200 individuals stood quietly as the Marines started the meticulous procedure that comes full circle with the introduction of the banner to the closest relative. 

The banner is collapsed into a triangle and has 13 folds, meaning the first 13 states. The primary overlap of the banner is an image of life. The subsequent crease implies our confidence in everlasting life. The third crease is made in respect and tribute of the Veteran withdrawing our positions who gave a bit of their lives protecting our opportunity and looking for harmony. 

As the group of spectators stands discreetly by viewing the apparently moderate procedure of the Marines, they don't have the foggiest idea about the fourth overlay represents our flimsier nature as residents confiding in God; it is to Him we turn for Divine direction. The fifth crease is an affirmation to our nation, for in the expressions of Stephen Decatur, "Our nation, in managing different nations, may she generally be correct, yet it is as yet our nation, right or wrong." 

Some start to squirm now, however the Marines are unaffected in their careful assignment of respecting one of their own. 

The 6th overlap is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we vow faithfulness to the banner of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one country under God, inseparable, with freedom and equity for all. The seventh overlap is a tribute to our military, for it is through the military that we secure our nation and our banner against all adversaries. 

The family and friends and family sitting close, some are restless, needing it over while others need this minute to proceed until the end of time. The eighth overlap is a tribute to the person who went into the valley of the shadow of death, that we may come around, and to respect our mom, for whom it flies on Mother's Day. On this day, the ninth overlay is for Gary's widow, Susan. The ninth crease is a respect to womanhood, for it has experienced their confidence, love, dedication, and commitment that the character of the people who have caused this nation incredible to have been formed. She exemplifies each expression of that overlap. 

The tenth overlay is a tribute to father, for he, as well, has given his children and girls for the resistance of our nation since the individual in question was first-conceived. To some today, the last overlap would raise cries of hardship since they express our Judeo-Christian legacy. The eleventh overlap, according to Hebrew residents, speaks to the lower bit of the seal of King David and King Solomon and extols, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The twelfth overlay, according to a Christian native, speaks to an insignia of time everlasting and lauds, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost. 

As the two Marines face each other making the thirteenth and last crease, I'm appreciative for its importance. The last overlap, when the banner is finished, the stars are highest, helping us to remember our national witticism, "In God We Trust." Finished, the Marines execute their developments and before the closest relative, bow and state, ""in the interest of the President of the United States, the United States Marine Corps, and a thankful country, if it's not too much trouble acknowledge this banner as an image of our thankfulness for your adored one's fair and steadfast administration." 

The finish of the administration is the start of another section in the lives of those left standing. During those minutes my brain consistently breaks and uncovered my companion Perl, passed up a foe mortar, whose 42-year-old Mother kicked the bucket two years after his demise from what her Doctor depicted as a 'broken heart.' Through the split in my vault, I see 35 dead Marines we dashed in body sacks for the ride home and a service like the one we simply closed. I hear the voice of my first rifleman accomplice, Hutch, who passed away one month back, letting me know with a splitting voice of the craziness that was the Seige of Khe Sahn. As I look into I get a look at Gary's child, Zack, an incredible young fellow with a youthful spouse and little girl and joy slips in among the massacre in my mind. 

We're getting together for a gathering image of the 12 of us who originated from close and far to respect our fallen Brother. As we do, in my imagination I see my first expert sharpshooter accomplice, Hutch, grinning amidst our first firefight. I'm holding Moto's hand two years back, as he lost awareness from the cerebrum tumor that took him in under two months. We're attempting to get sorted out, yet my psychological performing multiple tasks isn't helping much. 

On a shady evening in Spokane, I stand affectionately intertwined with my Brothers in arms. Some I battled with more than 50 years prior; some I just met yesterday who I battle vicariously with today. Young fellows who left their families flew and drove a few states away to respect one of their own. Affectionately intertwined I watch out at grinning women taking pictures of us and see my great companion Greek. I talked at his memorial service about twenty years back, just as his Mom and his Dad's before that. Gary and I held his hand when he left medical procedure, in the wake of losing his leg to a mine. 

The kaleidoscope in my mind flashes like camera bulbs some time ago. Encompassed by Marines youthful and old I have an inclination that I'm sitting in a skillet of Jiffy Pop. The photograph session closures, and like every one of the memorial services I went to as a component of a Marine entombment detail, life comes back to typical for a few and another, yet vague ordinary starts for those near the adored one they lost. Time doesn't mend all injuries it simply makes a scar to be lived with until the end of time. 

We say goodbye to my great companion and individual warrior Gary. R. Reiter. We share a Brotherhood that crosses time, age, social limits, and ages. A bond few will know, and less will get it. The vault to the compartments in my psyche squeaked open, lubed by the tears I held in so tight. This evening I'll go back in time as will a large number of the 11 sharpshooters who remained next to me to respect our companion. 

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