Into the sunset goes the riderless horse – Thousand Oaks Acorn

May 26, 2019 - Comment

The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem. —Rev. Aaron Kilbourn This Monday, a black horse, escorted by a sergeant in the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment—also known as the Old Guard— will walk solemnly down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. The horse will carry no rider in the English saddle carefully strapped on top


The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.

Rev. Aaron Kilbourn



This Monday, a black horse, escorted by a sergeant in the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment—also known as the Old Guard— will walk solemnly down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.

The horse will carry no rider in the English saddle carefully strapped on top of a black blanket stretching across the animal’s board back. A pair of perfectly shined cavalry boots complete with spurs will be placed backward in the stirrups.

Known as the Riderless Horse, the symbolic tradition dates back to antiquity as a way to honor soldiers killed in the field of battle.

In the United States, the military honor is bestowed on Army and Marine Corps officers with the rank of colonel and above. The tradition is also extended to presidents. In fact, the last Riderless Horse to be walked in a presidential funeral procession was for Ronald Reagan, who is buried in Simi Valley. It is also used by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office during its annual Peace Officer’s Memorial event, which was held earlier this month.

The backward boots represent that the individual will never ride again, signifying as well the deceased’s final look back on their fellow troops and family.

This year, as in many years past, the Riderless Horse will lead the National Memorial Day Parade in our capital in representation of the countless men and women who have given their lives in defense of our country.

It is but one of many symbolic traditions deeply woven into our national fabric that will be recognized this Memorial Day as we remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

American flags waving gently in the May breeze at festooned gravesites all across the country will greet family and friends as they gather to pay homage to loved ones who have been lost. For many, it is a day of personal remembrance.

We honor grandparents, parents, spouses, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and more—all those who left the comfort and safety of home to stand at the ready and protect our way of life against threats from abroad.

This great American holiday also heralds the start of summer and a chance to barbecue in the backyard, catch a baseball game at the park or some waves at the beach. And oh yeah, it’s a day off work.

Whatever you do this Memorial Day, please take a moment of prayer if inclined, and tip your hat to all the men and women who gave their lives for our country.

We would not be here without them.

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