WASHINGTON, D.C. - They are the Marines who help lay the fallen to rest, but those who become Marine Corps Body Bearers go through months of rigorous training and it is not a job they take lightly. They consider it an honor.
"I was actually deployed when I heard about the body bearers," said Lance Cpl. James Miller. "Immediately I wanted to be one."
For Miller, it took seven months to become a Body Bearer once he returned to Washington, D.C.
He has been stationed there now for more than a year and in that time has buried more than 200 Marines.
The Marines who become Body Bearers at Arlington train in a lower parking area twice a day and it's no easy task.
They perform exercises in the parking garage, which can be both stifling from the heat, or freezing. They also hit the weight room to build up their core and their strength to prepare for the funerals. They prepare not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. "Just show no emotion and no pain, no physical strain whatsoever because it's all about the family and you don't want them to see anything other than a flawless funeral," said Miller.
Being a Body Bearer has become a time-honored tradition and an honor for the Marines to be a part of.
Each of them takes pride in sharing these final moments with the families of the fallen and veteran Marines. "It's our job to have flawless bearing and to perform our job at the max at 100% for them. We don't do it thinking about ourselves, it's all for the family and for that American hero, really," said Miller.
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