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
The stalwart of black gospel songs for funerals is Thomas Dorsey's "Take My Hand, Precious Lord." Written in 1932, Dorsey's classic is perhaps the most iconic black spiritual of all time. Dorsey adapted the melody from a 19th century hymn, but composed the lyrics when mourning the deaths of his first wife and child.Full Answer >
Tipping at funerals is a normal custom. It is not necessary to tip the funeral director or any of the staff at the funeral home, but tipping is customary for many of the other service providers.Full Answer >
Police officers carry semiautomatic pistols as their service weapons. The brand and calibre of weapon varies by municipality, with some cities allowing officers several weapon options.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 >