AFTER DEATH... Burial With Honor
I had Dad's chaplain dress uniform hanging in my closet. I knew he wanted to be buried in it. So I got busy polishing the brass buttons. The only thing I didn't have was the official officers cap, but after checking with various Navy officers, we decided it was okay to have him in the casket without it. The other thing I was concerned about was his medals. It was customary to bury an officer with his medals but I wanted my brother to have them. Again, I consulted with various Navy officers and was assured it would be okay to bury him with his bars instead.
The military hospital arranged to have Dad's body delivered to the mortuary. As I discussed arrangements, the director said, "You know (the hospital) did an autopsy on your Dad..." I was blown away. I was asked specifically by the attending physician the day Dad died, "Do you want an autopsy?" I had said "No." Maybe there was a mix-up. I phoned the physician to ask why they had done an autopsy. He said, "They didn't... at least they weren't supposed to. I'll check to make sure."
He did some checking and called back to assure me that no autopsy had been done by them. Maybe they sent the wrong body to the mortuary! I called the mortuary back and said, "I'm on my way there. I want to see my Dad's body NOW!" At first they balked, but I wasn't taking "no" for an answer. They hastily arranged for a viewing. I confirmed with my own eyes that they indeed had Dad's body and that no autopsy had been done. Whew. The mortician couldn't explain why I was told he had an autopsy. She suggested that maybe the scars on Dad's sternum from three open-heart surgeries led the inexperienced director to conclude there had been an autopsy.