man...was anyone else impressed by the Honor Gaurd? Standing at attention for God knows how long..carrying that casket in that manner, when it weighs 700 lbs...I was definitely impressed..I start to get antsy after standing at attention for 15 minutes!
It takes practice, practice, practice. I have stood guard at military funerals and I gave also been sergeant of the guard at these funerals. These men doing the honor guard at the President's funeral are certainly impressive. I have a friend who was part of that unit (Old Guard Caisson Platoon). He had the responsibility of doing as many as 7 funerals a day at Arlington National Cemetery. When they weren't doing funerals, the unit was drilling (D & C)to do them.
Take a look at their web site http://www.mdw.army.mil/fs-g06.htm
What I thought was the craziest was the men stationed on the stairs of the Captiol building every other step. The news announcer said when Reagen was inaugurated he stood facing the west for some specific reason. When they halted the cart at the bottom of the stairs a sergeant gave an order and in unison, they all turned to the west. I was in aw-- But the precision of those men, especially the marching with the casket and standing still for so long... the funeral made me speechless.
I saw a documentary film about them last year. They also have to work out and get built.
I remember they get trained doing that at the craziest temperatures, like in an underground parking lot, in winter - 15 celsius and wearing shorts only, or viceversa in the summer with high temp and them dressed as eskimos. Amazing.
But what a privilege to carry Reagan's coffin on his funeral.
Any Honor Guard unit should be capable of doing that, but I don't think many of them get the time to drill like the Old Guard does. I know on most Air Force bases the majority of the Honor Guard has a full time job to do and does the Honor Guard as an extra duty. Anyhow them boys was extremly impressive, even when the casket was still in CA and it had one member from each branch standing on it, they were like statues standign up there.
I was in Washington on unrelated business during all of the ceremonies, and I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the procession. It was amazing how still the guard along the sides of the road stood for so long.
Wasn't as impressed with the cadets from Annapolis, CG Academy, and West Point, they kept pulling out of formation due to heat exhaustion. They'll get better, I suppose.:?