PORT HENRY — The golden notes of taps fell slowly, like warm tears on a cold face.
The Venne family was joined by hundreds of friends and neighbors as Port Henry native son Staff Sgt. Dain T. Venne was laid to rest.
Townspeople gathered at St. Patrick’s Cemetery ahead of the funeral procession and huddled in black dresses and dark suits, burying hands in their pockets to ward off the chilly November air.
It was a somber day, cast in gray and rolling clouds.
A grief-stricken community had made semicircles around a green canopy when the family arrived.
Six pallbearers, all soldiers, carefully moved the flag-draped casket from the hearse toward the grave in slow, pausing steps.
Their boots fell softly, keeping perfect time.
The white-gloved hands of all six clasped like knots behind their backs when their task was done.
At the front of Venne’s final resting place, two long rows of firefighters kept watch in sharp blue-and-black dress uniform.
They came from Port Henry, Moriah, Mineville, Witherbee, Ticonderoga and other nearby towns to pay final respects to a fellow fireman.
Venne served in the Port Henry Volunteer Fire Department.
Standing at right angles to the firefighters, about 30 men and women from all branches of the U.S. military stood straight and at attention. They came from Camp Lejeune and Fort Drum, among other bases.
Some wiped tears away when the brigade of bagpipers played “Amazing Grace.”
The day was a sequence of carefully planned events that moved mourners slowly through town, leaving enough room to give the family time to grieve in private.
Rows of sheriff’s deputies and State Police kept order and saluted as the procession moved past, first along Main Street to St. Patrick’s Church for Mass, before moving slowly up the hill to the cemetery.