A Vietnam veteran's family gathered at a shooting range near their homes to celebrate his life and mourn his death through the majesty of coordinated shotgun blasts.
The family and friends of Walter “Jim” Hosey, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, showed up at Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range in Hurricane, Utah last week to honor his life. After the American Legion performed a rifle salute, played taps and presented the American flag to Hosey’s children they all took to the firing line and started their own special take on the 21 gun salute. Walter's son Clint had loaded 50 shotgun shells with his ashes and, with the help of everybody in attendance, Walter was fired down range.
“I think he got a kick out of that,” Clint told the Marine Corps Times. “As soon as I could hold a pellet gun up, I was learning to shoot. Dad was always looking for a good time.”
Walter's friend Kenny Canfield said he long enjoyed the shooting sports and was a great companion to have at the range.
“He was one of those kinds of guys that, if you was having a bad day shooting and he was shooting with you, he would just cheer you right up,” he said. “And if he was shooting good and you were shooting bad, he would start shooting bad. He was a character.”
As far as anybody involved could tell, this was the first shotgun salute of its kind to take place in the area. “It’s the first time for me that a veteran’s or an individual’s ashes were made into ammunition and then fired through a shotgun,” Spilsbury funeral director Mark Heiner told the publication. “But it’s a fitting tribute to the way he lived.”