A Native American veteran holds an eagle staff, the traditional "flag" of the Yakama Nation, during Lance Cpl. Joe Jackson's funeral May 4, 2011, at Tahoma Cemetery. (U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Jad Sleiman)

On a cold February afternoon, a handful of pallbearers pulled the casket of Frankie Reye Alexander from a hearse and placed it over his final resting place at Tahoma Cemetery.

A traditional song, "Soldier Boy," echoed from a pair of Yakamas who sang to the beat of a deerskin drum.

About 20 members of the Yakama Warriors Association stood at attention under a gray sky as they gave Alexander his final salute. Seven Warriors raised their rifles and fired three shots. Other Warriors formed a color guard, and one handed a folded United States flag to a member of Alexander's family.

Alexander, a Yakama, faced combat in Vietnam and later became a Seattle police officer before returning to the Yakama reservation. He died Jan. 12 at age 73.

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