- The Facts About Military Funeral Honors: What to Expect
- Resources for Veterans & Their Families
- Download Our Free Veteran's Funeral Planning Guide
- Useful Documents & Forms
The Facts About Military Funeral Honors: What to Expect
The rendering of final honors to a departed military member is one of the most profound demonstrations of honor, respect, and gratitude that a soldier can bestow upon a fallen comrade. However, there is a process that must be followed in order to take advantage of this benefit. Here is what to expect when military honors are requested.
Once elgibility has been ascertained and military service has been verified, your funeral director can help you with the rest of the process.
Federal law states that every eligible veteran must receive a military funeral honors ceremony, including the folding and presenting of the U.S. flag and the playing of Taps, should the family request it. These ceremonies must be requested in advance. Know that a veteran's family must request an American Flag as part of the presentation. To do this, complete an Application for U.S. Flag for Burial Purposes form and provide a copy along with the veteran's discharge papers. Additionally, a Presidential Memorial Certificate must be requested if it is wanted by the family. This is an engraved paper certificate signed by the current president and honors the memory of the deceased veteran. A family is able to apply for this at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail.
When you attend the service, a flag will be draped over the coffin, and if there is a chapel service, the flag will be pulled away from the head of the coffin so it can be open for viewing. Whether the service entails a gravesite visit or not, the honors will include a choice of service, military rifle salute, folding of the flag, presentation of the flag, and the playing of Taps.
For more information about arranging military funeral honors for your loved one, please contact one of our knowledgable funeral directors. We are always here to help.
Resources for Veterans & Their Families
A veteran can receive a military funeral in a military or private cemetery. The choice affects how arrangements are made for that veteran's military funeral.
Based upon eligibility, a veteran may be buried in a national cemetery, Arlington, a National Park Service cemetery, or a state veterans cemetery. If one of these resting places is chosen, our funeral directors will assist with the arrangements. However, a DD Form 214, must be presented.
If the veteran is buried in a private cemetery, our funeral directors can help you set up the military arrangements, but you will have to seek reimbursement for the expenses. You will have to provide proof of the veteran's eligibility, such as DD Form 214, to receive military funeral honors.
If you choose to have your loved one buried in a private cemetery and you want to be reimbursed for funeral and burial expenses, you can apply by filling out VA Form 21P-530, Application for Burial Benefits.
When supplying proof of eligibility or other official records, do not send original documents because they will not be returned.
We can arrange for military funeral honors by contacting the honor guard representative for the branch of the military in which the deceased served.
When burial is in a national cemetery, National Park cemetery, or state veterans cemetery, the cemetery officials order a headstone or marker and use inscription information provided by the next of kin.
When burial is in a private cemetery, the next of kin or a representative, such as a funeral director, must submit VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private Cemetery or a State Veterans Cemetery, along with the veteran's military discharge documents, to request a government-provided headstone or marker.
Family members can receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate by submitting VA Form 40-0247 upon the death of their loved one.
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Useful Documents & Forms
All forms will be downloaded to your computer when you click on their link below. Once you have completed all required information you will be able to save the form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please print a copy for your records as well.
- Death Certificate Form
- Legal Next of Kin Verification Form
- Embalming Authorization Form
- Cremation Authorization Form
- Your First Visit
- Who Needs a Death Certificate?
- Follow-up Checklist
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the forms above (PDF format). This is a free program available from the Adobe web site. Follow the download directions on the Adobe web site to get your copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.