persons may honor the bride in a similar fashion.
Enlisted members who do not bear arms can use hand
salutes; those who bear arms can form an arch of rifles.
The tradition of the wedding arch of swords or
honors differs slightly among the different branches of
the armed services. In all cases, to have an arch of
swords or honors is the choice of the bride and groom.
It is an obligation of the best man or the groom to select
those who will take part in this presentation, as well as
to confirm that all weapons are at the ceremony. The
senior usher is responsible for making certain that the
ushers are adequately rehearsed in their roles in the
honors ceremony as well as the religious rite. In the
following paragraph, lets take a look at a typical honors
After the religious rite, the senior usher forms all the
ushers in two columns, and places them at the vestibule
of the RMF, facing inboard. As the newly married
couple advances near the RMFs exit. . they pause. . the
senior usher then declares, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is
my honor to present to you, [rank or rate] and Mrs. John
Doe. (Variations of this may be required if the bride, or
both bride and groom, are military... whichever is
common, acceptable, or suitable.) The newly married
couple passes through the portal, and the senior usher
commands, Draw swords. On command, all ushers
carry out only the first count of the movement, leaving
their swords raised, with tips touching, to form an arch
under which the couple passes. After the newlyweds
have passed, the senior usher commands, Return
swords. All ushers return their swords in unison. The
senior usher then dismisses the ushers.
As previously stated, this modest time-honored
ritual may differ among the different branches of the
armed services and can be altered to oblige enlisted
persons. In all cases, however, only the bride and groom
pass under the arch of swords or honors.
NAVY MILITARY FUNERALS
Our nation considers the burying of its military dead
as a solemn and sacred obligation. As an RP, you will
become involved in the planning and carrying out of
military funerals. In carrying out your duties for this
important tradition, you should keep the following two
factors in mind:
1. Military honors at funerals of active duty,
retired, and former members of the Navy are conducted
to honor the service that Navy men and women have
given to their country.
2. Navy military funerals also assist the family of
eligible persons during times of bereavement.
As an RP, you must be especially aware of the
customs, traditions, and honors surrounding the ritual of
the military or Navy funeral.
Past naval and military customs are the basis for
honors at funerals. The customs and traditions of a
military funeral include the following symbols:
The flag covering the casket symbolizes the
deceased members service in the Armed Forces
of the United States.
Taps are played to mark the beginning of the last,
long sleep and to express hope and confidence in
the final reveille to come.
The three volleys tired are in respect for the
deceased members service to his or her
To imply that at death all persons are equal, the
honorary pallbearers are placed in no order of
In the following paragraphs, we will take a look at
some other traditions of the Navy military funeral.
The Navy has specially trained ceremonial
personnel or voluntary funeral honors personnel to
perform at most national cemeteries. Naval activities
make every effort to grant funeral honors.
Navy Military Funerals, NAVPERS 15555B, will
provide you with detailed guidance on military funerals.
This publication contains guidelines on areas with
which you will be concerned, such as planning,
memorial services, pallbearers, and burial at sea of
casketed or cremated remains. NAVPERS 15555B will
also give you specific guidelines on the services for
burial of persons of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and
Orthodox faiths. The section on Navy Military Funerals
will provide you with details on the Casualty Assistance
Calls Program and the Funeral Honors Support