When a First Responder Dies

First responders are brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the service of our communities. When they lose their lives, we as a community grieve along with their loved ones, respecting and appreciating their sacrifice. It’s only fitting that they should be honored with a meaningful memorial service.

  • First responder funerals are similar to those of veterans. Although there are rituals unique to the person’s particular area of service, some traditions remain the same.
  • A flag-draped casket is an important honor. Just as members of the military are honored for service to their country, firefighters and police who have died in the line of duty are also entitled to a flag-draped casket.
  • The presence of an honor guard is another tradition shared with military funerals. The honor guard is involved in many aspects of the funeral. Duties include casket watch, pallbearers, and color guard. A designated member of the honor guard escorts the family into the service before assuming the duties of the ceremony.
  • A ceremonial volley may be fired if it’s deemed appropriate . If the family feels that the sound of gunfire would be too traumatic, a 21-bell ceremony is another option. For firefighters, it’s traditional to toll a bell three times.
  • At the end of the service, the flag is treated with special care and respect. It’s taken from the casket and folded carefully into the traditional triangle fold, then presented to the family.

Law enforcement funerals are heavily endowed with symbolism and meaning. A police escort accompanies the mourners to the cemetery, and sometimes officers from around the country come to pay their respects. Additionally, blue-tinted flowers are sometimes placed in a vase beside the casket as a tribute to the Thin Blue Line a phrase that refers to law enforcement as a barrier between order and anarchy .

Funerals for first responders honor the hero who has lost his or her life, but they are also a time of great respect for the person’s family. The family’s wishes are taken into account first, even ahead of longstanding traditions. During this time of grief and mourning, the community of first responders comes together to support the family and help its members begin to heal.

First responder funerals are meaningful and special, but every person deserves a funeral that honors the life that was lived. At Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary, we understand the importance of a life-honoring memorial that respects the legacy of the person who has died and helps friends and family members begin to heal. Call (520) 399-6652 today to learn how we can help you honor your loved one.