In the 1800s, Irish immigrants met with widespread discrimination, and only the least desirable jobs were available to them: firefighting and policing. In Ireland, bagpipes were typical at all funerals.Know More
The sad sound from the pipes brought dignity to solemn occasions and allowed expression-hardened public servants an opportunity to display grief for fallen friends in a perfectly acceptable way. The mournful sounds may also have served as a reminder to those who discriminated against them that it was the Irish protecting them. It was not unusual for several firefighters to die in one incident. The tribute was so moving, families of non-immigrants began to request bagpipes at funerals.
Traditional bagpipe melodies at firefighter and police funerals include "Flowers of the Forest" and "Lament for Children." "Amazing Grace" is popular, but not considered traditional. In the 1970s, a group of Scots Guards toured America and adapted the hymn to bagpipes.
The Emerald Society bagpipe troupes are associated with Boston, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia and serve as pipers at firefighter and police funerals, no matter the ethnicity. The bands consist of 60 members wearing traditional kilt and tunic, Scottish clan tartan kilts, Irish single-color kilt or simple Irish uniforms. The tradition became universal.Learn more in Holidays & Celebrations
Some of the most popular songs for funerals include Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven.” The range of emotions in these songs, from sad and sentimental to humorous and uplifting, has made them enduring funeral choices.Full Answer >
People wear black to funerals as a traditional symbol for mourning and as respect for the deceased. The tradition first dates back to England in the time of the Roman Empire.Full Answer >
The book "Funeral and Memorial Service Readings, Poems and Tributes" by Rachel R. Baum has selections of poems that are suitable for a funeral service. The text contains selections of both poetry and prose for memorializing many relationships, including parent, child, spouse, sibling, other relative and friend.Full Answer >
The patron saint of police officers is Saint Michael the Archangel. He represents the values of chivalry, courage and justice and is also the patron saint of anyone who works in a dangerous job, including military personnel, firefighters and paramedics.Full Answer >