Some call it the nation's most sacred responsibility. That responsibility has been shifted to a private charity. While the government is shut down, it no longer will pay death benefits to the families of fallen service members.
Local military families are outraged. Up until Wednesday afternoon, the unthinkable had become more unbearable for some parents of military men and women.
But all are breathing a sigh of relief tonight that the House voted late this afternoon to restore military death benefits.
Blue Star Mother Joyce Mader's youngest son, Steven, is serving at Fort Hood. His brigade is in Afghanistan, but Steven didn't go. The master gunner remained state-side because of an ear injury.
Mader says she can't imagine losing a child. Losing death benefits adds insult to injury.
"Most of the time you are not with the program. Ya know, if you've had a death in your own family, you know what state of shock people are in. So, that's all that I can say. And hopefully the Government will step up and do something about it," said Joyce Mader, Blue Star Mothers.
And it did. After an outcry, the House voted unanimously to restore the $100,000 military death benefit. The Blue Star Mothers are hoping the U.S. Senate follows suit.
Bonnie Beck has two sons who have served our country.
"I can't imagine what the families would do. Some families, I'm sure are fortunate enough to have the money to do what they need to do. For those that don't, I don't know whether I don't know what they would do. I can't imagine losing a son and not being able to bury him," said Bonnie Beck, Blue Star Mothers.
Keith and Mary Ellen Schramm know all too well what that feels like. Their son, Brian, died in Iraq in 2009.
"You don't know where to start. How are you going to get the body? How will you make arrangements?" asked Keith Schramm, Brian's father.
They hope no one else has to experience their pain. No less, pay out of pocket to bury someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice.