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Robert L. Miller, Sr. Veteran's Center

The Last Salute

Garden of Peace

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The Last Salute

We are pleased to announce that the purposes and functions of Miller's Vets have been materially expanded to include a full Military Funeral with all Military Honors (21 volley Rifle Salute; ceremonial folding and presentation of our American Flag; and the sounding of Taps); internment in a beautifully landscaped cemetery bearing the legend "Miller's Vets Garden of Peace". It will include either a biodegradable (no metal) handsome Poplar (Michigan Tulip) hand made casket (Amish Craftsman), or when available, a standard casket.. The Service will feature Miller's Vets advancing and posting Colors; Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem, and a professionally filmed Non Denominational religious service. Serving Communion will be by a local Clergyman. There will be no charge of any kind.

You are cordially invited to rehearse the following details of the origin, plus the exhibits, pertaining to this major addition to our Program.

Miller's Vets "The Last Salute" - Origin

Exhibits to "The Last Salute" - Origin

A final salute to veterans (PDF)
South Bend Tribune
29 March 2010

Bremen Cemetery Memorial Service Program

The following video is an edited version of Miller's Vets extending Military Honors to a World War II Veteran following a contemporary Funeral Service in his home church of many years. It is believed that this might well have been the first time Honors were conferred in a House of the Lord. The Circumstances are not unusual. The Veteran had been a resident of a large nursing home for an extended time. Many of his friends were in wheelchairs (cemetery visit not an option); the Veteran was conversant with Miller's Vets and had requested Military Honors; weather forecast-heavy rain. Accordingly, the family requested the Honors be conferred in his Church. The Minister readily approved.

Following the Flag Presentation, as the audience was leaving, the comments were universally favorable. "I had never seen Military Honors before;" "your Vets did an outstanding job;" a lady-"I joined in the Hand Salute during Taps-the first time I ever saluted and and I cried."

Miller's Vets are persuaded that these conferrals are for the living and are appropriate at any time or place following the demise of a Veteran when requested by the family and approved by the Venue. Reactions have clearly shown that funeral homes, and now churches are very viable alternatives to cemeteries. With the advent of many more cremations; the frequent extended distance of cemeteries (lots acquired years earlier); the increased traffic enhancing the inherent dangers of funeral processions; the single lanes in cemeteries (driving on some graves) frequently requiring lengthy walks to a grave site, all tend to mitigate against conferring Military Honors at graveside.

The last Video contains the highlights of the services for our first indigent Veteran. He was a decorated combat Marine, and although there was published only a brief announcement in the newspaper, 160 grateful citizens attended his service (90+ were served communion) and a 40 vehicle procession, led by a Marine motorcycle unit in the missing comrade formation, proceeded to the Garden of Peace for grave side Military Honors and internment.

28 April 2012
Military Honors, "The Last Salute", Garden of Peace Cemetery, Russell Lee Hooker, Sr.
Honor Guard, Present Colors, Pledge of Allegiance, Flag Folding Ritual, Taps

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