The Soldier’s Cross Ceremony
A. K. A. “The Battlefield Cross Ceremony”
A. K. A. “The Battlefield Cross Ceremony”
READ SCRIPT for Soldier’s Cross Ceremony below Video
Soldier’s Cross Ceremony Script….
Remember, Honor, and Impart the Value and Price of Freedom….that is the mission for every citizen of the United States of America to embrace, who lives under the Flag of Liberty.
During our brief history as a nation, hundreds of thousands of our “finest” have laid down their lives for the cause of Freedom.
Then, approximately 83,000 over the last century alone, were captured, suffering unspeakable torment while others became missing and have not yet been found.
Meanwhile, countless others have sustained injuries, some which healed, while other wounds were life-altering, leaving the veteran to cope daily with a high level of anguish, often impossible to speak of…
Today, we honor, we remember, and we thank all of these ones who suffered on our behalf, for the cause of Liberty and most especially, those who have paid the ultimate Price for our Freedom, having given all.
At this time I would like to call your attention to the Table set before you where you will see a place setting to represent all of those who could not join us today; beside the table stands a rifle placed carefully within a pair of worn boots, capped with a helmet, while the rifle is draped with dog tags; this is known as the “Soldier’s Cross” a memorial to those who have perished in battle.
This “Soldier’s Cross” or “Battlefield Cross” has its origins dating to the Civil War in that, when soldiers were hastily buried between battles, the rifle was stabbed into the ground to mark their final resting place. Anything which identified the fallen was placed on the rifle so others would know who eternally rested there.
Today, service members on the battlefield often are unable to attend the funerals of their fallen brothers and sisters in arms, so the Battlefield Cross or Soldier’s Cross is placed in honor of those who have perished, as a way to pay their last respects.
Let us now review the meaning of the items which comprise the Soldiers Cross:
(Featured to the left of each element of the ceremony are members or guests of the Volunteer State Honor Guard. These images were taken by Ann M. Wolf at the event held at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, the Saturday before Veteran’s Day – 2015, where the Volunteer State Honor Guard was in charge of the program. These images are of the Soldier’s Cross Ceremony which was a part of the events held that day; these same images are also located in the Gallery below where you can click and read the names of each participant.)
The Rifle: The rifle, bayonet affixed, is the most important tool to a United States fighting man or woman. It is the core to their livelihood and key to their survival. It is thrust into the ground signifying that the one being remembered died in battle, fighting to the end. It also signifies that the battle is over when the rifle is left this way.
The Boots: The boots carry a service member through the fight for our freedom. They are the first and most important means of transportation. The boots are placed at the base of the rifle. They are worn and dirty reminding us of that final march to that last battle.
Dog Tags: Dog tags are worn by each service member; they have imprinted into them, all of the important identifying information regarding that individual. The dog tags are hung from the rifle, so that the name of the fallen will never be forgotten.
The Helmet: The helmet is an important piece of protection on the battlefield. Some believe that the hat or helmet of the individual represents what that person stood for; and so the helmet is placed on top of the rifle signifying that the battle is over and that a great sacrifice has been made. It will never be worn again.
This ceremony has been created as a joint effort between Chaplain Ann M. Wolf and Combat Veteran Brad Heun, of Tennessee’s Volunteer State Honor Guard, who has graciously given Ann M. Wolf permission to incorporate his research and thoughts into this presentation. To read more scroll and see below.
Cumberland Plateau Pow Wow
POW/MIA/KIA CEREMONY: Ann M. Wolf narrates the “Soldier’s Cross” & “Missing Man Table” Ceremonies during the Veterans portion of the program. She concludes with singing “Pass It On” acapella.
SSG Brad Heun & Ann M. Wolf
SSG Brad Heun: Combat Wounded Veteran currently working tirelessly in East TN as a member of the Volunteer State Honor Guard and VFW among other groups and causes. His ongoing service in his community shows his deep commitment to the cause of supporting veterans and their families.
This image is of the Tattoo on SSG Heun’s back; seeing all the articulate details in this work of “Ink Art” shows his deep reverence for his fellow combat brothers & sisters in arms and no doubt suggests some of his own history.
Ann M. Wolf: Incorporating the detailed historical research done by SSG Heun, Ann wrote the narration script as seen & heard on her video, “The Soldier’s Cross Ceremony” (A. K. A. Battlefield Cross Ceremony”).
Says Ann, “SSG Brad Heun along with the other members of the Volunteer State Honor Guard, amaze me with their dedication, showing up at as many as 3-5 events in one day in all kinds weather, exhibiting a high level of precision with the ceremonies they conduct for veterans affairs and military memorials. It is an honor to work with SSG Heun as well as with all the members of this fine organization; Volunteer State Honor Guard is a Team who continues to make East TN proud.”
Click to watch more ceremonies or see other resources.
“This was stirringly solemn. While that may sound oxymoronic to some, I think you’ll understand why I say that, my friend (speaking to Ann). As usual, your narration literally reaches out an invisible hand and grabs at the heartstrings of America’s patriots, especially veterans, who know of the sacrifices. Veterans know the stark realities of risking one’s life for the mission and one’s brothers and sisters in arms; and for some, they know the horror of brutal death and horrific suffering. Lesser men and women could never endure this gift to a grateful nation of citizens. You, Ann, capture that honor and with great love and artistry, holding veterans up as keepers of the flame! The way you do it is soulful, deeply personal (for you) and perfectly empathetic. God blesses each person you touch with your music and thoughts. You are an angel for veterans and non-veteran patriots alike. Makes us proud to be either or both. :)”
“Ann you deliver a special message to all who wear/wore the various uniforms of the men and women of this great country. Your service as a Chaplain and God’s Messenger hit home and warm the heart of all who have lost someone special in life. May God return your favors a thousand fold.”
Michael also shares these profound thoughts from his experience….
“When men were wounded and in serious condition, we called in a Medevac Chopper, commonly called a “DUST OFF”; we set up a landing zone and provided security for the chopper to land and the wounded were placed on the chopper. Unless the person recovered and return to combat, we never knew if they lived or died. It was a horrible thing, never getting to say goodbye in the combat zone. All we could do is get into small groups and say a prayer for our brothers that were in serious condition, and then break up because the enemy loved to see us group up because one hand grenade could wound several if tossed into a group.”
” LOST FOR WORDS, “AMAZING & GRACEFUL” WE OWE SO MUCH TO SO MANY WHO GAVE SO MUCH FOR SO MANY. WE THE PEOPLE OF A FREE NATION. Still trying to digest & absorb the “HEART & SOUL” of your vision here, you remind us, a nation of Brothers & Sisters who are the HONOR & DIGNITY of our nations “AMAZING GRACE” You are blessed with such moving, touching creative meaning for our Warriors! WOW – thanks for sharing your gift. Best, Carlo.”
“Ann that video is tremendously moving. I’ve never seen anything like it. I have no direct experience with anyone in the military. I’m feeling a bit ashamed because I’ve been cushioned from the reality of War. But in this video I could see the emotional pain of the vets that knelt before the Soldier’s Cross and the pain was visceral. Keep doing your work for the Vets, they need you.”
“Beautifully done! Every high school student across the country should be required to watch this maybe then our youth would develop the respect that has been long overdue for our military.”
“I want to share this video by my fellow Chaplain Ann M. Wolf. God bless all of our Military past and present and may we never forget the great price they paid for our freedom.”
Steve says after watching the video…
“Great job Ann very well put together. Proud of you.”
“Beautiful tribute ! Never forget!”
“Another fine inspiring video. Thanks Ann M. Wolf”
“This brings tears to my eyes . I ask that each of you play this and remember ALL who have given their lives for this great country in prayer.”
“It’s wonderful what you do Ann! God bless you and your family and for making me shed a tear…again. ….. Johnny”