Sometimes You Have to Check a Bag

American flag with spent shell casingsYou all know I’m pretty obsessive about traveling with only a carry on bag. But there are exceptions…

This weekend, along with other family members, I attended my step-father’s memorial service. He was a veteran, and the American Legion turned out to provide military honors, which included a flag detail, the playing of Taps and 3 rifle volleys. After the service, the funeral home director provided a nice bag for the flag I would be taking home, and added nonchalantly, “I put the spent brass in there, too.”

My thought processes percolated on this for a while, and came up with, “I bet I can’t carry spent ammunition on a plane.”

Sometimes you have to check a bag.



  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for checking that bag!

  2. Annette

    oops – forgot to include my name on that comment – your sister

  3. Katja (Post author)

    You’re welcome, sister!

    Interesting bit of trivia: the 3 rifle volleys are not a “21-gun salute”. From’s US Military Frequently Asked Questions:

    At military funerals, one often sees three volleys of shots fired in honor of the deceased veteran. This is often mistaken by the laymen as a 21-gun salute, although it is entirely different (in the military, a “gun” is a large-calibered weapon. The three volleys are fired from “rifles,” not “guns.” Therefore, the three volleys isn’t any kind of “gun salute,” at all).

  4. Kimberly

    Some things are worth the compromise. I’ve never attended a military funeral before but it sounds like an honourable service.

    Again, my condolences on your loss.

  5. Katja

    Thank you, Kimberly. It was a very nice and moving service. It was clear that my step-father was well known and appreciated in his town.


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