Viking funeral at sea

November 14, 2014   //   No Comments

As reported on the American website navytimes.com on 2nd October, the US Coast Guard recently gave WWII veteran a Viking funeral at sea.

On September 29th, Station Atlantic City fulfilled the final wishes of World War II veteran Andrew Haines, a New Jersey resident who died in late August at age 89. Haines spent more than a decade planning his own Norse-style send-off — a self-built funeral ship to carry his cremated ashes, which was then to be ignited with a flare.  He had emigrated from Norway as a child in 1927 and had stayed connected to his Scandinavian heritage throughout his life.

About 10 years ago, Haines’ cousin in Norway sent him blueprints for a 100-foot wooden ship, which he scaled down as small as two feet, as a small construction project.  Haines built five versions of the ship, ending with a 54-inch model.

“Burial at sea is not that uncommon,” Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Christopher Fonseca, Atlantic City’s operations officer, told Navy Times. “We probably do about seven a year just at Atlantic City.”  Once the station came up with a plan to safely bring the wooden boat out to sea and set it on fire, they coordinated with the family to set up a ceremony. Fonseca said about 30 people came to say goodbye to Haines ashore.  After a group memorial, a few close family members and a preacher rode out on a 47-foot motor boat with Fonseca’s team, as the rest of the party threw flowers into the water behind them.

About three miles off the coast, Fonseca and his crew brought the miniature Viking ship down to a recess in their boat, lit the wood shavings inside on fire with a flare and sent it out to sea.  It took about 20 minutes to burn, he said. The family said some last words, and one crew member read a nautically themed Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, “Crossing the Bar.”

You may read the full article here.

 

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