- The Washington Times - Monday, February 24, 2014

For Sgt. Daniel Miller, the word that comes to mind when he thinks about a military funeral is “family.” Both his father and grandfather are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“When I saw the funeral, I was like, I have to be a part of that. It’s a great way to honor those who served, so I feel like I’m doing my part after serving as well. I was like, I want to give the family something they can remember us by,” he said, when asked about his career.

Sgt. Miller, along with the others serving on the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment at The Old Guard, carry out memorial services and ceremonies to honor fallen American heroes.

The caisson is the military wagon drawn by horses, most notably Black Jack who served as the caparisoned horse for President John F. Kennedy’s funeral.

Sgt. Miller and his team take the job of working on the Caisson Platoon very seriously, working up to eight funerals each day: “Trust me, we don’t mind. It feels like it’s a great accomplishment what we do.”

Typical days for Sgt. Miller and his platoon begin at 4:30 a.m. when each group of horses are washed and suited up to be ready for the first funeral service of the day.

Military funerals are meant to honor the fallen and bring peace to families. But just last week, The Wisconsin National Guard suspended one member for posting a picture on social media that went viral. The photograph shows a group of national guardsmen clowning around a casket, making funny faces, with the caption that read, “We put the ‘fun’ in ‘funerals.’ “

The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment at The Old Guard quickly went to its official Facebook page and made it clear that these men had no affiliation with The Old Guard, but that the picture had brought, “discredit and disgrace to many in the military.”

The Caisson Platoon at The Old Guard works with grace and receives the credit they deserve through feedback from the families following a service.

“During the funeral, we can’t tell, [the families] seem impressed whenever they see horses coming up. They know that the caisson barn is down the street and come to us and say they appreciate it. Trust me, we don’t mind, it feels like it’s a great accomplishment what we do.”

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