Military Funeral Honors – Veteran Recognition
An honor guard detail for the burial or cremains interment consists of no fewer than two members of the Armed Forces. Honor ceremonies of veterans who served 20 years, medal of honor recipients, higher rank officers and active duty veterans may have more elaborate events. All ceremonies will however include the formal flag presentation, playing of taps and sometimes a rifle salute.
It does not matter how long they served in the military, only that they have completed their service under honorable discharge status.
There is no time limit for the application.
A flag is provided by the Veterans Administration at NO cost. It is often draped over the casket or placed beside the urn.
After the military honors service, the flag is presented to the next of kin.
It is not a durable fabric which can be flown outdoors, so is meant as a keepsake item for display. We usually obtain the flag for families, but to apply directly please feel free to use the Veteran Flag Presentation Form provided for here for you.
This special recognition states in part,
“This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of the devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.”
Depending on the availability of resources the military may be able to offer additional honors for your loved ones service such as;
- Rifle detail
- Color guard
- Caisson – 2-wheeled vehicle for artillery ammunition attachable to a horse-drawn limber (see right)
- Military flyover
Military Honors Application Process
If you would like to take advantage of the military benefits you will need the discharge papers (normally DD-214). Do NOT send the originals but make certain to send a copy. The funeral director will usually help you apply, but if you need to do it yourself the application form(s) can be found on our website under the menu Funeral Support Information. Once the form(s) are completed and you are ready to submit them, you may do so in the following ways;
- In person at any regional Veteran Administration office
- By faxing the application to 1-800-455-7143
- By mailing the application to
Memorial Programs Service (41B)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903
Having military honors at the burial is an honor. Take advantage of this addition to the military interment; it is a cherished privilege.
Eligable for Honors
Categories of veterans who will qualify for military veteran honors. There are always exception to any rule, so if is always best to apply.
- Veterans who died while on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
- Veterans who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable
- Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
Not Eligable for Honors
Categories of veterans are ineligible for military honors;
- If they have been convicted of capital offenses and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole or receive the death penalty.
- If they were discharged from the military under dishonorable conditions, which includes dishonorable discharge, bad conduct discharge, dismissal from the service by court-martial, other than honorable conditions.
- For officers, resignation for the good of the service in lieu of courts-martial, which results in a discharge characterization of other than honorable conditions.
We have listed some additional questions below that many people have regarding military honors. As well, you will find more information on Military Honors as well as other topics relating to the military on the many articles published in our blog, please see -> blog entries on military matters.
Do I have to pay to have military honors ?
Military honors are provided free of charge by the Department of Defense to the family. It is a right which the veteran has earned.
Can a Veteran Have More the One Honor's Ceremony?
Veterans are provided with only one honors ceremony.
How to Request Military Honors ?
Generally the funeral director will organize the Military Honors with the appropriate military organization on behalf of the family. If however the family has had cremains for an extended period of time and they are not currently working with a mortuary, they may contact Military Funeral Honors coordinator directly.
- ARMY: 858-573-7049 FAX: 619-615-2275
- NAVY: 1-800-326-9631 FAX: 619-532-3941
- MARINE: 866-826-3628
- COAST GUARD: 619-278-7676
- AIR FORCE: 951-655-6105
History of Rifle Salute
With military honors three volleys are fired. This comes from an old battlefield custom which allowed for the warring side to remove the dead from the field of battle. When the dead have been removed three volleys would be fired to indicate the it was time for the battle to begin again.
How May I Get Copies Of Military Records
Next of kin may submit a request to the VETRECS website: http://vetrecs.archives.gov
The military identifies “Next of Kin” for this purpose as Surviving Spouse that has not remarried, Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Sister, Brother.
How do I schedule and Interment in a National Cemetery
Usually the funeral director you are working with will do this. However, if you have had the cremains for an extended period and are not currently working with a funeral home you may schedule interment yourself
Fax all discharge documentation to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.