What is Military Funeral Honors?
Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the nation's deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to the veteran's family. By law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the American Flag to the next of kin. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by Ceremonial Bugle, or electronic recording (CD or tape).
What can the family of an eligible veteran expect?
The core elements of the Funeral Honors ceremony, which will be conducted on request, include: Flag Folding, Flag Presentation and the Playing of Taps.
How much does a Military Funeral Honors detail cost?
Military Funeral Honors are provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to the family.
How many Funeral Honors ceremonies can a veteran receive?
Veterans are entitled to one Funeral Honors ceremony only.
How does a family request Funeral Honors?
Families of eligible veterans should request Funeral Honors through their funeral director. The funeral director will contact the appropriate Military Service to arrange for the Funeral Honors detail. Families in possession of their veteran loved ones' cremains, who now desire to have a burial ceremony, may contact the appropriate Military Funeral Honors coordinator by accessing the database on the Funeral Directors' Information page of this website. Indicate the Service of the deceased and the state where burial will take place then call the number provided. Service Funeral Honors personnel will assist you in arranging for Honors.
How much notice should be provided for the Funeral Honors request?
The Services request at least 48-hours in order to organize the Funeral Honors detail.
Where can I write to obtain copies of my military records to verify my entitlement for Funeral Honors?
If you wish to obtain copies of your military records, you may submit a request following the guidance on the VETRECS website: http://vetrecs.archives.gov (Note: VA website identifies NOK for this purpose as Surviving Spouse that has not remarried, Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Sister, Brother)
To whom can I write to express comments or concerns about the Military Funeral Honors program?
You may write to the following address for a Department of Defense response, or to the individual Service address provided on the Military Service Coordinators page if you would prefer to address your comments to a specific Service.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
(Military Community and Family Policy)
4000 Defense Pentagon, Room 5A726
Washington, DC 20380-400
Who is eligible for a burial flag?
The Veterans Administration verifies eligibility in accordance with Title 38 USC 2301. Your funeral director will assist you in obtaining a flag. More information is available at: http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/bbene/bflags.asp
The VA authorizes only one flag and the order of precedence is:
surviving spouse, children according to age, parents (including adoptive, stepparents, and foster parents), brothers or sisters (including brothers or sisters of half-blood), uncles or aunts, nephews or nieces, and others such as cousins or grandparents.
When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making a request for it. If there is no living relative or one cannot be located, and no friend requests the flag, it must be returned to the nearest VA facility. The VA is not able to provide replacement burial flags even for lost or damaged flags.
In the case of in-service deaths (active duty), the Defense Department provides a U.S. flag to drape the casket or to be presented at a memorial service. After the service, the flag is given to the next of kin.
What is a Presidential Memorial Certificate: Who is eligible to receive this certificate? How does the family obtain this certificate?
This is a parchment certificate with a calligraphic inscription expressing the nation's grateful recognition of an honorably discharged, deceased veteran's service in the Armed Forces. The veteran's name is inscribed and the certificate bears the signature of the President.
Next of kin, other relatives and friends may request the certificate in person at any VA regional office or by mail. For information about requesting a Presidential Memorial Certificate, please visit http://www.cem.va.gov/pmc.asp
How do I request a grave headstone or marker?
Your funeral director will assist you if you have questions about grave markers.