I sit in the family section, off to the side, in a folding chair, front row. When the officiant mentions the wife and grown children he turns left, where we sit. Those in pews also turn and look at us, the bereaved. I didn’t earn my seat. I married into this row. A marine walks straight forward to the box containing ashes, circled by bright flowers. On the box, a white, blue, and red flag folded into a triangle. The marine stands in his high gloss oxfords, arms stiff, and lower fingers tucked. A few people also stand in this exact way, including the officiant. The place could crumble all around and the ceiling could fall, and the marine would still stand. I can see his profile. He does not quiver. He has stood like this before facing a body of a young soldier, his comrade. And another, another. He stands, protector of chaos, grief, war itself. He holds this posture for us, the ones who fidget. He holds emotion so that we can weep. Our mouths are also closed so the breath goes out our eyes. A marine in the back raises a trumpet to his lips and plays taps. We know the words but there are no words for this. The marine we watch salutes the man in the box. He picks up the flag and turns to us and places the flag in the hands of the wife. He speaks quietly and directly to her and she says something in return. The family and guests think the same way. They think, how many partners and mothers and nephews, fathers and sisters and cousins, brothers, nieces and daughters and sons and friends and lovers have had to turn palms upward and accept this fold of cloth and say, thank you.