If your loved one has served in the armed forces, you likely will want to honor their service as you honor and celebrate their life. With that in mind, it is important to know what is involved with including military honors, especially if you are trying to preplan their funeral. Here are a few of the aspects of a military funeral, including military etiquette.
What Happens at a Military Funeral?
First, it is important to understand what happens at a military funeral service. While you may plan to have a pastor or minister speak, a ceremony relating to their military services will be held at the committal shelter. This small ceremony acknowledges their military service, including any readings or military honors, and can be handled by an individual chosen by the family.
Cemetery officials can help to guide the family and guests through this process. The family can also opt to have military funeral honors performed during this ceremony. Here are the military honors:
- Taps is played
- Rifle detail
- Color guard
- Uniformed military service members present a burial flag to the family
There is also military funeral etiquette that must be followed. If you are attending one of these services, you may bring flowers to the committal shelter and these will go with the body to the graveside. However, individuals cannot visit the graveside immediately following the ceremony, but must wait until the end of the workday.
These military funeral honors are provided free of charge. An honor guard detail will include two military servicemembers, with one of them being from the parent branch of the military where the individual who passed away served.
Who is Eligible for these Honors?
To have military funeral honors for your loved one, they must have one of the following:
- Been on active duty or in a selected reserve
- Former military member, who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable
- Former military member, who completed a term of enlistment or obligated service in the reserves without a dishonorable discharge
The eligibility of your loved one is typically through the DD 214, but any discharge document can also be used. A DD 214 can be obtained through an online request to the National Archives.
Financial Benefits for Veterans
If your loved one has served in the military, then there is also some financial assistance with their burial and gravestone costs. This process includes a pre-burial eligibility determination, which can be done before your loved one passes. A burial eligibility can help you to pre-plan for burial in a VA cemetery.
Working with your funeral director, you can also apply for a burial allowance. There are also other compensation events for a surviving spouse or dependents. You may also qualify for grief counseling, especially as you transition through the loss of an active-duty servicemember.
If your loved one has served our country, then our knowledgeable staff can help to walk you through the process of a military funeral. Contact us today to find out how our compassionate team can assist you through this emotional time.
As a private and family-owned funeral provider, Mile High Mortuary & Cremation Service offers traditional funeral and cremation services with over 30 years experience in assisting families during their time of need.