Royal Canadian Legion Funeral Service Rites

by M-Gillies

 

A member of the Royal Canadian Legion saluting during a service

Member of the Royal Canadian Legion saluting during a service.

During the time of a death, the Royal Canadian Legion is present to support the family and to honor the departed comrade. As such, it is imperative that the clergy understand the symbolism of the Legion Tribute, while the Legion members are aware and understand the requirements of the clergy. To this degree, it is requested that both parties inform each other of the needs and requirements to ensure a service that both honors and pays tribute to the deceased in the most respectful way possible. The Comrade in Charge is the person responsible for carrying out the Legion Tribute.

The Legion Order of Service, or Legion Tribute, is a funeral service that has been developed to permit members an opportunity to say goodbye to their fallen comrade. As such, for this memorial service, the Poppy becomes an integral part of the service and its use must be planned so as not to detract from the dignity of the occasion.

To ensure the service is carried out accordingly, it is important to follow the Legion Order of Service funeral rites as presented in the Ritual and Insignia Manual.

As such, the prior arrangements should be made in advance with the person who will officiate the service to determine where to position Legion members for the service and determine when the Tribute will occur. Prior to the service, Poppies are to be distributed to those participating members.

When the service begins the Comrade in Charge should announce the hymn chosen by the family and request the gathering to stand. As suggested, a suitable selection may be “Abide with Me”, especially the first and last verse. The Comrade in Charge will then begin the service by addressing attendees by announcing, “We assemble today to solemnly remember and to pay our respects to the life of our comrade (name) whose loss we mourn but whose spirit still lives, may we, as citizens and members of The Royal Canadian Legion, be charged anew with the full sense of our duties and responsibilities to our country and our organization. May we ever strive to uphold the principles of unselfish service which led us to serve our God and our country in time of war and in peace, so that we may continue to serve, even unto death.”

Following the announcement spoken by the Comrade in Charge, a prayer may be recited. After which the bugle call Last Post is performed following a brief silence before the bugle call Rouse is performed.

When the bugle call has been completed, the Act of Remembrance will be recited which reads:

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.

It is after this last line that all in attendance shall recite, “We will remember them”.

During this time, the Comrade in Charge will say, “Our Heavenly Father, grant, we beseech You, to the loved ones of our departed comrade, Your comfort and protection. Amen.”

At the conclusion of the Tribute, Poppies are to be dropped into the grave. Legionnaires in uniform and wearing their headdress will salute after dropping their Poppies. If there is no burial, Poppies may be placed on the casket or around an urn by a special honour guard or all comrades present.

The “Last Post Fund”, is a non-profit organization that has served Veterans since 1909 and ensures that eligible Veterans receive dignified funeral and burial services. For information visit Last Post Fund.

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