Why do we honor fallen heroes with a 21 gun salute? Liz and I had been talking about Memorial Day this week and I recalled the members of the East Aurora Legion shooting guns after the parade at Oakwood Avenue Cemetery. 

My father warned us to wait until the soldiers told us we could grab the shells casings from the guns after they were fired. The shells (casings) come out hot and it's a memory that is burned in my mind.

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But I guess as kids we never understood why these 7 men were shooting the guns at the ceremony. It was 7 members of the legion. Each from a different branch of the military, in their dress uniforms firing three rounds to make the 21 gun salute.

The graveside honor that is given to fallen military heroes is different than that of what you may hear after a President of the Unites States dies. Traditionally, artillery guns are used to honor a former or current President who passes away.

According to Wikipedia:

While the 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized, the number of rounds fired in any given salute will vary depending on the conditions. Circumstances affecting these variations include the particular occasion and, in the case of military and state funerals, the branch of service, and rank (or office) of the person to whom honors are being rendered.