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briantshore

Scouting Funeral

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This is a very deficult subject. I just attended calling hours for a young scout. He was killed in a fall at summer camp. I do not know about any of the details. He will be buried in uniform. My wife told me not long ago, that she thinks that she would do this for me when the time comes. Since I have put so much time in the scouting program, and plan to put even more time in the furure. I was wondering if anyone had seen this happen? Having all the pallbers in uiform perhaps?

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I participated in a funeral for an Eagle Scout I had worked with before I moved away. He had actually been out of scouting for several years and had recently married before he was killed in a car wreck.

 

I wouldn't call his funeral a scouting funeral per se, but scouting had figured prominently in his life and many of us who attended were there because of our scouting association. A few men showed up in their scout uniforms. I think their presence, even in small numbers, made a powerful statement to the family and others in attendance.

 

I was moved at how many people showed up who I count as friends and were brought together through scouting and this one young man.

 

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I've been to several funerals recently. No youth, thankfully.

 

With the strength of Scouting here in Kansas City, visitation evenings are often crowded with uniforms.

 

The funeral itself? Suits and ties. OA/MOS lanyards, Beavers, Eagles... but suits and ties.

 

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I, along with 150 or so other Scouters and Scouts, recebtkt attended a funeral for a young Eagle and Army Sgt., killed in Iraq.

 

We, at the family's request, attended in uniform and sat together. Scouts holding flags lined the entrances before the service.

 

It was an impressive and inspiring sight, for both the general public and for us in Scouting. (In fact, as grizzled and hardened as I am -or would like to be, I'm starting to tear up at the memory of it.)

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I've been part of funerals for Scouts and Scouters and at both the Troop attended in uniform and the Troop Flag was front and center.

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Years ago one of my first Eagles was killed in a military training accident. His mother requested the troops' participation as honor guards, and I was asked to give a eulogy. Just about the most difficult thing I have ever done in scouting. I also was one of the pallbearers, along with one other troop member; both of us were in uniform of course.

 

Over the years I have also been to a number of dedicated scouter funerals, and those of us who worked with them in the program, attended in uniform which was very appreciated by family members.

 

So, there is certainly a precedent to do so. Unless the family specifically requests not to, I can see no reason why you would not, if you feel it is appropriate.

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I can offer a similar experience not from Scouts, but high school football.

 

Had a teammate killed about 13 months ago in a car accident. He was on his way to football. For the wake, we were instructed shirt and tie and to come on our own rather than as a team. Our coach felt this would be best for the parents. For the funeral, we were there in shirt and tie, but we also had our jerseys on over the top of the shirt and tie. Our coach was asked to speak. Tell ya, it was quite an experience there being 200+ people at the funeral I'd guess and about 50 were in football uniforms. He, BTW, was buried in his jersey.

 

Sure, I think it's a great idea to be in uniform.

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I would like a little clarification of the question.

Are you being asked to quick, in a hurry, put together a Scouting Funeral for this young scout? Or are you doing future planning for yours?

 

If the first then I might suggest calling up your Local Council and if they don't have anything, if not, then ask the closest Guard or Reserve unit or VFW Hall and asking for a timeline of events and guidelines that they use on burial details as you should be able to quickly adapt their theme to a Scouting theme.

 

If the latter, then I'm certain that you can produce something that would be appropriate.

 

In either case - I don't see any conflict with wearing the uniform to the funeral, serving in uniform in the funeral, or in being buried in one.

 

Is there a relevant prohibition in any of the guides?

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When I was a scout, a freind and fellow scout was killed when he was struck by a car while on his bicycle. He was buried in uniform, and the troop acted as pall bearers, all in uniform.

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Last year my husband and I attended a funeral for a lady who was very active in scouting. She was diagnosed with cancer and had passed very quickly. She was my husbands troop guide for Woodbadge the session prior to her passing, both her husband and children were active in scouting.

 

At her memorial service it was rare to see someone there that was just in a suit and tie. We sang Vespers and "Gilwell", just the staffer verse. it was quite emotional, she was one of those sunny people that made a difference in everyone's life.

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When I was a scout, one of our Asst. Scoutmasters died while active. We all attended the funeral in our uniforms and sat together. His son's (our troop mates) appreciated the support from us.

 

In my opinion, I would consider it an honor to have uniformed members of an organization that I undoubtedly loved represented at my funeral. I can think of no honor more befitting a Scout or Scouter than that.

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A boy I grew up with died when I was a senior in High School. He was a Cub with me and in my troop until his family moved to California. We shared a tent our first year at summer camp as boy scouts. He made Eagle while in California. They buried him back here in Maryland. ALL the palbearers were Eagles that grew up with him, we were in full uniform. Our troop did colorguard, my high adventure explorer post handled parking and a police explorer post directed traffic.

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A little over a year ago my father past away. At the time of his death he was the Scoutmaster for our Boy Scout Troop. He had served the troop for 4 years turning it into a Boy run troop with active patrols.

 

Our family decided to bury him in his uniform. All the scouts and scouters from the troop showed up in their uniform to the visitation and/or funeral.

 

As my dad also participated in some District activities a few district scouters showed up in their uniforms.

 

About two and a half weeks after losing our Scoutmaster our Chartered Organization Rep past away from a battle with cancer. As she was very active in Scouting (earning awards including the Silver Beaver) several scouts, scouters, and professionals showed up for her funeral. She was buried in full uniform and those Scouts and Scouters that visited were also in full uniform.

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Yesterday morning I attended the funeral of a long time Scouter in our council and district. She lived and breathed Scouting for the last 49 years (she registered as a Den Mother in 1958).

 

She was buried in her uniform with her Wood Badge regalia and Silver Beaver. Her casket was carried by 8 Eagle Scouts.

 

There were approximately 60 Scouts and Scouters among the 100 plus people attending the funeral. The vast majority were in uniform. The memorial booklet listed her Scouting service and had the BSA logo on the front, as did the "order of service" booklet.

 

The service was a standard memorial service, and the songs were not Scout related. Three people/groups spoke in addition to the minister. One was a family member (her granddaughter); one was the Scoutmaster of a troop for which she served as Unit Commissioner; one were her co-workers (yes at 74, she was still working).

 

The minister had been a Scout and used a Scouting story of his experience as a patrol leader as part of the sermon.

 

The memorial displays of pictures included one devoted to Scouting, one to other volunteer service, and two to her family and friends.

 

As the cemetary all of the Scouter in uniform lined up next to the hearse and saluted as the Eagle Scouts carried her casket to the gravesite.

 

It was very nice, a good blend of her life in Scouting, her family life, and her work life.

 

She was a grand woman, who will be sorely missed in our district.

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It's been a bad summer for our district. We lost a current volunteer, a retired volunteer and a cub scout in the month of July. Alas, we didn't get word about the cub scout until after-the-fact, but we sent representatives from the district to both the volunteers' visiting hours and funerals.

 

The current volunteer had been a recent past SM and current committee member of one of our more active units. He was a paramedic killed in the line of duty. Some drunk idiot in a pick-up truck slammed head-on into the ambulance he was riding while tending a patient in back. Driver of the ambulance is still in very serious condition now nearly 2 months after the accident. Ambulance had lights and siren blaring at the time. The patient and the drunk survived. Visiting hours were extra crowded for him between the two different sets of uniforms present (Scouts and paramedics from across the state).

 

The retired volunteer had been a leader in my home troop when I was a scout. He had been active for nearly 30 years in many capacities before retiring in the late 90's. Local paper featured him about a year ago. He was a quiet WWII hero surviving the Invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge--reporter worked hard to get him to tell his story. Alas, his family gave short notice of his death and arrangements (no visiting hours--posted short obituary 2 days before funeral), so we didn't have the usual amount of time to get as large a crowd together for him as we wanted. Some of his relatives were shocked/surprised to see scouts at his funeral. Apparently, he didn't tell many of his relatives that he was in scouting. Lester was humble to the very end.

 

Cub Scout was a Webelos in one of our smaller packs in one of our smaller towns (more like village). He and his family had been four-wheeling on their own property. Parents and big brother took their eyes off kid bro for only a moment...'nuf said.

 

Other funerals/visitations in the past for leaders and youth in this district have fallen along many of the lines described here.

 

Last year we also paid respect to a volunteer leader who had contributed a lot to our OA Lodge and council camp. We did the OA's Broken Arrow Ceremony (Google it if you want to know more) at his visiting hours with about 50 arrowman/women present. It was very simple, but impressive.

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