Alumnus reflects on solemn, historic post

Three officers near the casket of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
FLCC criminal justice alumnus Jacob Habecker is shown at the head of the casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Standing at the head of the casket of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jacob Habecker thought of little other than his assignment, to serve and protect.

That, and the silence: As a member of the federal police, he’d grown accustomed to the buzz of dispatchers and fellow officers on his radio. Standing under the portico at the top of the Supreme Court steps in a frozen salute, Jacob was struck by the quiet and the long, snaking line of mourners.

Over the course of two days last month, Jacob was among a select group of federal officers chosen to serve in the honor guard while Ginsburg lay in repose at the Supreme Court where she served from 1993 until her death on Sept. 18 at age 87.

“It’s a memory I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life. I’m very proud of it,” said Jacob, a Palmyra native and alumnus of the criminal justice program at Finger Lakes Community College.

Jacob and fellow honor guard members, clad in their navy blue uniforms and matching face coverings, alternated in 15-minute shifts at the head of the flag-covered casket while mourners paid respects on Sept. 23 and 24.

Jacob could tell when a dignitary had arrived because they were escorted to the front of the line. He was working when Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez came through.

Presidents were allowed a closer view. “I was there when Bill Clinton came, but in other room,” he said, later adding, “The honor guard appealed to me because it allowed me to witness history first-hand.” Continue reading “Alumnus reflects on solemn, historic post”