AFDW provides ceremonial honors to longest-serving Congressional member
Story by MSgt Amaani Lyle on 02/21/2019
Air Force District of Washington conducted an Arrival Ceremony in honor of World War II Army veteran and former Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) here Tuesday.
Dingell, 92, passed away in Dearborn, Michigan, Feb. 7.
Dingell’s family and his remains arrived at JBA on board a C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
AFDW is responsible for the Air Force operational and ceremonial support to Dingell’s funerals and all other joint military service ceremonies in the national capital region and elsewhere, as directed by U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
Military support for Dingell’s funeral is provided by the Defense Department as an exception to policy at the request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and includes an Army body bearer team, a firing party, and a bugler at the funeral and interment ceremonies. Military funeral honors at the interment ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., are provided according to Dingell’s military service.
Dingell, who served in the U.S. House from 1955 to 2015, was not only the longest-serving Representative in American history, but one of the final two World War II veterans to have served in Congress.
He was the last member of Congress who had served in the 1950s and during the presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
The day he died, Dingell dictated reflections to his wife at their home. The following is an excerpt of those words, which were published as an op-ed piece Feb. 8 in the Washington Post.
“I never forgot the people who gave me the privilege of representing them. It was a lesson learned at home from my father and mother, and one I have tried to impart to the people I’ve served with and employed over the years.”
“As I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands.”
The Congressional funeral in honor of Dingell will conclude with a public funeral mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the District of Columbia Thursday at 10:30 a.m. He will later be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony.