For many Marines who are part of the Marine Corps Body Bearers, it’s not every day they take part in a ceremony for a U.S. president and for Cpl. Kevin Harris, a 24-year-old New Port Richey, Florida native, he knew just how special his task was.
"Wow," was what Harris thought to himself in recalling to the Tampa Bay Times. "This is the 41st president of the United States."
Harris was one of the U.S. service members who carried the casket of President George H.W. Bush into the Capitol Building on Monday. The former president was to lie in state for two days before the funeral service that was to held on Wednesday and then flown back to Texas.
The casket is carried into the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/dVxcbIy0GW— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 3, 2018
“It was a pretty humbling opportunity and feeling to have," Harris added. "I never thought in my life that I'd be put in that situation."
"You can't let anything affect you because it's not about your pain," he explained. "You're doing that service for the members of the family ... It's the least we can do to honor them in the best way possible before we let them down one last time."
Training to be a Marine Corps Body Bearers is tough and it should not be surprising when the program entails a lot of weight lifting:
"My wife and I were crying, watching him on TV," Harris’ father, 55-year-old Mike Harris, told the Times. "It's a monumental event, and our son is there."
"We're that last representation of something their family member was a part of," Harris said, "something they probably loved a lot."