Standing in the 85 degree, sun drenched cemetery wearing a black suit was not the issue. Somehow my highly polished black shoes seemed to absorb all the heat away from my body and manage to cook my feet to a crisp. It's been dry and hot here for over a week and everything is starting to get crispy. The cemetery grass is a lonely shade of brown with the exception of the occasional weed that seems to thrive in this sort of weather and is jutting high above the nicely kept lawn, waving in the breeze as though to stick it's nose up at the fragile state that the lawn has come to.
The minister went on and on. You could tell that everyone was getting weary. The Scottsman tending to his bagpipes was standing under a tree in the distance wiping the sweat from his brow. The soldiers stood at attention in the hot summer sun awaiting their orders.
As I stood silently next to the hearse, I noticed the two turkey vultures circling above the cemetery. Just an hour before, we were joking that it would be terrible if a dove that we released was to get snatched up for some hawk's or vulture's lunch. The young man tending to the basket containing a single dove, also watched nervously.
As the minister finished his committal prayer, the Army Chaplin stepped up and began his speech. "Another soldier has been called by the great commander-in-chief" he called out. Just then one of the vultures made a swoop down toward the crowd gathered around the open grave. I overheard one woman say, "Isn't that cool that the Eagles are circling above". The tension is mounting with all of us that were working the service.
Just then the firing squad fires three rounds. The vultures disappear. Now's our chance.