"Lighting the Way"



In the mid to late 1800’s a funeral procession of a mounted officer or enlisted man was accompanied by a riderless horse in mourning comparison followed by a hearse.

It was also a custom to have the boots of the deceased thrown over the saddle with heels to the front signifying that his march was ended. The funerals of firefighters, more than any other ceremony, have followed an old pattern as the living honor the brave dead.

The Foundation provides honor guard services for a wide variety of funeral’s and events. The honor guard members are individuals that come from fire departments from all corners of the state.

The honor guard is commanded by Lt. David Bradley (ret), who has been recognized both regionally and nationally for his efforts and leadership, and is a member of the National Honor Guards Commanders Association. Full honor guard services are available in the case of a LODD.

The services available to non-LODD funerals and events may vary depending on availability and schedules of honor guard members.

Funeral services of great magnificence evolved as custom in Christian mourning in the 6th century.

To this day, no religious ceremonies are conducted with more pomp than those intended to commemorate the departed.

The first general mourning proclaimed in America was on the death of Benjamin Franklin in 1791 and the next on the death of George Washington in 1799. The deep and widespread grief occasioned by the death of the first President assembled a great number of people for the purpose of paying him a last tribute of respect, and on December 18th, 1799, attended by military honors and the simplest but grandest ceremonies of religion, his body was deposited in the family vault at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Several military traditions employed today have been brought forward from the past.

Today’s customary three volleys fired over a grave probably originated as far back as the Roman Empire.

The Roman funeral rites of casting dirt three times on the coffin constituted the “burial.” It was customary among Romans to call the dead three times by name, which ended the funeral ceremony, after which the friends and relatives of the deceased pronounced the word “vale” (farewell) three times as they departed from the tomb.

In more recent history, three musket volleys were fired to announce that the burial was complete and the burial party was ready for battle again. The custom of using a caisson to carry a coffin most likely had its origins in the 1800’s when horse-drawn caissons that pulled artillery pieces also doubled as a conveyance to clear fallen soldiers from the battlefield.

Honor Guard