For Memorial Day:
The next day, Thursday, May 31, 2007, he sat in the heat on a distant tombstone, waiting until he could finish the rest of his work. Just after twelve o'clock, the first people arrived: a vanload of nine honor-guard soldiers up from Fort Knox, dressed in their green Class-A uniforms, with knotted ties and berets. Collins had seen them practicing and pointing at various spots in the grass when he dug the grave. Now seven of them stacked their M16's in one of those spots. Each gun held three rounds; Sergeant Aaron Huber, a broad-backed thirty-one-year-old veteran of the war in Iraq, had taken care to polish his ammunition to a high shine. Six of the soldiers, including Huber, then assembled in two rows between the grave and where they knew the hearse would park. The extra rifleman remained with the weapons, and the noncom in charge, thirty-seven-year-old Sergeant Kenneth Dawson, stood at attention nearby. The ninth man, Specialist Robert Leatherbee, a boy-faced twenty-six-year-old from Massachusetts, took his place about forty feet away. With his buzz cut and iron-crisp uniform, he looked like a soldier, but there seemed something smaller or gentler about him, at least compared with the others. Maybe it was just that he was holding a trumpet instead of a gun, his fingers tender on the brass.
Read more of this great story from Esquire here: