My Great Uncles Funeral

My Great Uncle Dutch Spahn passed away a few weeks ago. He was 93 years old and had one hell of a life. He was very close to my family and was my Fathers best friend. He was old school all the way. He was also a World War ll Vet and this is the reason for this post. He participated in the European and Africa campaigns and also participated in the liberation of the concentration camps of Bukenwall. An experience that stayed with him long after his return from the War. He spent many of nights haunted by what he saw there. His stories to me as a child were frightening.

He was buried at the Fort Logan National Veterans Cemetery in Denver Colorado with Military Honors.
I have been to several funerals in my life, but had never been to a military funeral and did not know what to expect. The ceremony is all handled and presented over by Veterans. It is very solemn to say the least. It is made very clear from the start that our veterans need to be honored with the highest respects. In regards to WW ll Veterans its noted throughout the proceedings that their numbers are few and diminishing rapidly.

I was a pall bearer for my Uncle. This is me on the left.
I was second in line during the procession. This was due to my being the only other family member at the funeral. Uncle Dutch was one of eleven children (two died at child birth). His last remaining sibling is Aunt Rosie. She is in the car in front of me.
There was a seven gun salute at the start of the proceedings.
Taps was then played. Those of us that were there were instructed to salute at this time.

I was glad that I had brought my camera. I wanted to document the day for my children so that they would know the seriousness of what our veterans have sacrificed for them and their country.
I was nervous that I might be disrespectful taking pictures. I asked permission before I started shooting and was told that I could shoot away. The military encourages documentation of the services.
This was the flag folding part of the ceremony. Every fold of the flag is symbolic and represents an event in military history. I wish I could remember all their of their descriptions.

The flag was then presented to Uncle Dutch’s sister Aunt Rosie. The Serviceman then gave an apology for her loss and  of the sacrifice Uncle Dutch gave his country.

At this point the military part of the service was over. A Catholic priest then took over and prayed for Uncle Dutch that his soul will be in Heaven and he will live in eternity.


About James Ray Spahn Photographer
James Ray Spahn is an award winning architectural, interior, lifestyle and resort photographer. He shoots for architects, interior designers, developers, manufacturers, shelter magazines and resorts.

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