The riders from the Patriot Guard formed a semi-circle around the gravesite on a gentle slope in Prospect Hill cemetery, holding flags, bidding farewell to their fallen brother, U.S. Army Spc. Ross E. Vogel III.
"Present arms," the call came out.
The members of the Patriot Guard, and the military personnel present, saluted as an honor guard carried Vogel's casket to his final resting place.
Vogel's family followed about a dozen steps behind his flag-draped casket, the crowd of mourners about a dozen steps behind them.
The graveside service was brief, punctuated with a rifle volley that echoed through the cemetery and a bugler playing taps mournfully.
It was a solemn ceremony. It was extraordinarily quiet. One of the gravediggers, Randy Herr, said usually you can hear trucks grinding on Route 30 just over the hill. Yet, Monday afternoon, the cemetery was silent.
Herr watched from a distance.
"I was never in the military, but this hits your heart," he said. "When the bugle starts, it gets to me."
Vogel died a month into his third tour in Iraq. The 27-year-old Red Lion Area Senior High School was assigned to the 67th Signal Battalion, 35th Signal Brigade out of Fort Gordon, Ga.
The Defense Department said he died in a noncombat-related incident in Kut, about 100 miles south east of Baghdad, on the left bank of the Tigris River. The military is investigating his death.
He was an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He loved hockey, playing the drums and cars.
Monday afternoon, he was put to rest with military honors. His family received the flag that had covered his casket on behalf of a grateful nation.