The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funeral, 1921-1969
Stephen T. Early, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, died at George
Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., on 11 August 1951.
His death, at the age of sixty-one, followed a six-day illness caused
by a heart ailment.
HONORARY PALLBEARERS FOLLOW THE CASKET TO THE GRAVE
CANON MONKS PRESENTS FLAG TO MRS. EARLY AT THE GRAVESIDE
officials, and hundreds of Mr. Early's friends. Present also were dignitaries whom the Early family had asked to serve as honorary pallbearers, among them Vice President Alben W. Barkley, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, Secretary of the Army Frank Pace, Jr., Secretary of the Air Force Thomas K. Finletter, Mr. Sam Rayburn, General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, and Mr. Bernard M. Baruch.
At the close of the funeral service, Mr. Early's casket was taken in procession out of the cathedral and placed in a hearse. The motorized cortege then formed and proceeded to Arlington National Cemetery.
The military escort previously had formed on the lawn at the cemetery's Memorial Gate, facing on line toward Memorial Drive over which the cortege would approach. On the left of the formation was the U.S. Army Band. To the band's right, in order of seniority of service, were four ninety-man companies, one each from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. Waiting on Memorial Drive directly in front of the escort troops was the caisson, and nearby stood the national color detail, personal flag bearer, and joint body bearer team.
When the cortege arrived, the hearse stopped beside the caisson. In a brief ceremony, the escort units saluted as Mr. Early's casket was transferred from the hearse to the caisson. General Herren then led the way through the cemetery to the gravesite. Following the escort commander was the band, which played Chopin's "Funeral March" as the procession moved. Next came the four troop companies. Behind them were the national color detail, an Army chaplain, the caisson flanked by the body bearers, the personal flag bearer, members of the Early family, and other mourners. As the funeral procession moved to the grave, the 3d Infantry battery, from a position in the cemetery, fired a 19-gun salute, spacing the rounds so that the last was fired as the procession reached the grave.
The graveside service was conducted by the Army chaplain, assisted by the Reverend William Kepler, pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church. Following the benediction, a second 19-gun salute was fired, a rifle squad delivered the traditional three volleys, and an Army bugler sounded taps. At the conclusion of the rites, Canon Monks presented the flag that had draped the casket of the former Deputy Secretary of Defense to Mrs. Early.