* NATIONAL HONOR GUARD ACADEMY *
Presenting of an Interment Flag to the family.
Presenting a folded flag to the family of a fallen officer will likely be one of the most difficult things you or one of your department representatives will ever have to do. There is a good chance that the individual who ends up presenting directly to the family may have never done anything like this before so working with them, despite rank or title, is imperative. Not just to review the mechanics of presenting the flat edge first and properly saluting it after presented but also the difficult task of what to say to the family member.
In many cases, the individual who will have direct contact with the family to present the flag is the chief, sheriff or department director but it could also be a government official so having time ahead of the service to work with them and discuss the process is key to a seamless and professional presentation. Take the time to go over all aspects of the presentation. When it will happen, how they will get to and from the positions they need to be in and what they need to do and say as part of this dignified duty.
Ensure that they are familiar with how to receive and handle the flag. It will be passed to them, flat edge first and they will need to wait for the person that presents to them to render a salute to the flag before departing. The presenter will then have to turn it around in order to pass it to the family with the flat edge first. In order to present to the family member, whom they hopefully have already identified and are familiar with, they will kneel in front of them and deliver their presentation message. This message can be as simple as "On behalf of a grateful community, please accept this flag as a small token of appreciation and a symbol of (Insert Name) dedicated service." The key to a successful presentation message is that it is personalized, heartfelt and concise but also that it is practiced ahead of time.....by saying the words out loud!
Following the presentation, the presenter will return to the position of attention and render a salute to the flag. This salute is also something that needs to be practiced ahead of time to ensure proper execution. As mentioned, taking the time and having the ability to work with the person who will make the presentation to the family is an absolute necessity, no matter their rank or title. This is one of the most impactful and honorable moments in the service and it is deserving of a selfless commitment to perfection.
The National Honor Guard Academy (NHGA) is dedicated to developing and elevating the ceremonial knowledge and skill level of public safety honor guard units while reinforcing a sense of pride and compassion by upholding honor guard traditions with precise attention to detail.