Petty Officer Monsoor's casket studded with gold Navy SEAL Tridents his colleagues pressed into it.
Petty Officer Second Class Michael A. Monsoor
A little-known tribute some Navy SEALs gave to a fallen comrade is gaining notice.
Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor was killed in battle in Iraq in September 2006, and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in April.
His funeral in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego was attended by “nearly every SEAL on the West Coast,” President Bush said.
During the service, as Monsoor's coffin was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, Navy SEALs lined up in two columns. As the coffin passed, video shows each SEAL slapping down the gold Trident from his uniform and deeply embedding it in Monsoor's wooden coffin.
The slaps were reportedly heard across the cemetery.
The symbolic display moved many, included Bush, who during his speech in April's Medal of Honor ceremony spoke about the incident.
"The procession went on nearly half an hour," Bush said. "And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”
Monsoor — described as an "outgoing guy" by his grandfather, George Monsoor, Sr. — was killed on Sept. 29, 2006. He had been assigned to protect fellow SEALs on a rooftop in Ramadi, Iraq, when a fierce firefight with insurgents broke out. During the battle, a grenade bounced off Monsoor’s chest and landed on the roof.
Faced with the choice to save his comrades or save himself, Monsoor threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the impact.
He is survived by his parents, an older sister and two brothers.