The National Cemetery Administration has barred volunteers at veteran funerals from performing a popular ritual at the graveside when folding the American flag. Honor Detail members can no longer recite the significance of the folds during funerals, a time-honored tradition, because of a single complaint to the NCA (via Michelle Malkin):
Flag-folding recitations by Memorial Honor Detail volunteers are now banned at the nation’s 125 veterans graveyards because of a complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery.
During thousands of military burials, the volunteers have folded the American flag 13 times and recited the significance of every fold to survivors.
The first fold represents life, the second a belief in eternal life, and so on.
The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and “glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
The National Cemetery Administration then decided to ban the entire recital at all national cemeteries. Details of the complaint weren’t disclosed.
So let’s get this straight. Because of one complaint out of thousands of ceremonies, the NCA banned all use of the folding ceremony. Why not just ask the Honor Detail volunteers to clear it with the families first? Wouldn’t that make a little more sense — to have a written version of it approved for use at their loved one’s final acknowledgement of their service to the nation?
The men whose votes matter most have not taken this news quietly. The parliamentarian for the American Legion has instructed his detail volunteers to ignore the NCA. Two others quoted in the article wonder why one complainant has more weight than the millions of veterans who expect and deserve the ceremony at their funerals. No one has ever heard the complaint despite their many recitals of the ceremony.
The NCA has taken the cowardly route of banning the ceremony. Instead of telling the one complaining individual to get over himself, or of taking a common-sense approach of simply clearing the ceremony with the family before its recital, the NCA just washed its hands and walked away. Our veterans deserve better than that. They didn’t just wash their hands and walk away, and they didn’t stop serving when they had a hell of a lot more reason to complain than the one weepy individual who can’t bear the mention of God at a funeral.