Online rumor alleges that U.S. military funeral protocol has been changed such that when the folded flag is presented to relatives of the deceased, it"s now done "on behalf of the Secretary of Defense" instead of "on behalf of the President."
Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Sep. 2011
Status: False (see details below)
Email text contributed by James C., Sep. 28, 2011:
Today I was incensed at the conclusion of a traditional Serbian-Orthodox funeral for my beloved 85 year old uncle, Daniel Martich, who proudly served in the US Army during The Korean Conflict. During the committal service at a Pittsburgh cemetery the local military detachment performed their ritual, then folded and presented the American Flag to my aunt. As I"m sure you have witnessed during military funerals, a soldier bends to one knee and recites a scripted message to a surviving relative that begins "On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, I wish to present you with this flag in appreciation for your husband"s service ...". However, today the dialogue was "On behalf of the Secretary of Defense and a grateful nation ..."
After the service I approached the soldier who presented the flag to my aunt to inquire about the change in language . His response was "The White House notified all military funeral service detachments to immediately remove "the President" and insert "the Secretary of Defense". I couldn"t believe what I heard and the soldier smiled and said "You can draw your own conclusion sir but that was the order". He, too, was ashamed of what he was required to say.
This president has taken off the gloves. My only response to this endless cesspool of Anti-American rhetoric dripping from his mouth is to borrow a phrase (with one minor change) uttered by another temporary Washington resident living in government housing: "Today for the first time in my adult life I was ASHAMED of my country". I did not serve in the military but my love of country parallels that of people like my late