Here is the after action report for the mission:
The ceremony was beautiful (if I do say so myself). I was so proud of all of the Missouri volunteers.
When I arrived at the chapel, there were several people already present. The active duty soldiers wanted to do a quick run through of their part of the ceremony, which we did. Congressman Carnahan's aid wanted to make sure we had made time for him to speak and we were able to accommodate him. Acoustics in the chapel were checked and I was informed that I did not need a microphone (lol). The bagpipe and drum corps from the St. Louis Fire Department wanted to know where they needed to be and when to play. Everyone who participated was briefed.
The ceremony began with introductions with special thanks to Mr. Polydys, Gerber Chapel Funeral Director. Of course, thanks were given to all of the VIPs.
The veterans names were announced and brief military history given for each. They were then brought forward individually by the pallbearers as all veteran and active duty saluted. The bagpiper corps played "Amazing Grace" in the background as all of this occurred.
After the last veteran was placed on the table, Chaplain Conklin led the Chapel in prayer. He did an outstanding job. Best prayer for a veterans funeral I have ever heard. (This opinion was confirmed by many after the ceremony).
The presentations were made next with Joe Smith presenting a beautiful crystal plaque (made by the Veterans Commission) on behalf of the Missing in America Project to Mr. Polydys and Gerber Chapel. Joe was also asked to present the PGR/MIAP plaque/flag/name plates in the shadow box to Mr. Polydys on behalf of the six veterans.
Next came the guest speakers, Mr. Otto, Executive Director of the Missouri Funeral Directors Association, Congressman Carnahan spoke next and lastly Maj Gen King Sidwell, Missouri Adjacent General spoke. Maj Gen Sidwell was so moved during his talk that his voice choked up several times as he tearfully read a poem and talked about the American Veteran and Active Duty.
Next came the 21 gun salute and taps.
The ceremony ended with passing in review with MG Sidwell saluting each urn as he passed. The urns were also saluted by other veterans and active duty alike.
After the ceremony, I was so pleased that almost everyone in attendance came up and told me what a beautiful, dignified and touching ceremony it was. Everyone was impressed.
These American Heroes were laid to rest before sunset in Jefferson Barracks' beautiful cemetery.
Missouri MIAP Coordinator