The basic Military Funeral Honors ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veterans' family and the playing of Taps. The ceremony is performed by a funeral honors detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces.
At least one of the detail will be from the military branch in which the deceased veteran served. Taps may be played by a bugler or, if a bugler is not available, by using a quality recorded version. Military Funeral Honor Teams may act as Pall Bearers if requested by the veteran/family.
Who is eligible for Military Funeral Honors?
- Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
- Former military members 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 departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
Who is not eligible for Military Funeral Honors?
- Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran's benefits.
- Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
Burial in a National Veteran's Cemetery
A veteran and their spouse are entitled to burial in a national veteran's cemetery closest to where they live. The Veterans Administration provides for burial space, a concrete grave liner and the customary veteran headstone. For those choosing cremation, above ground columbaria are available in most national cemeteries. A full explanation of options, policies and procedures will be provided by your funeral director.
How do I establish veteran eligibility?
Your funeral director will assist in making the necessary contacts with the proper veteran's organization. The primary document required is form DD 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. If the DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used. If you cannot locate the DD Form 214 a copy can be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:
National Personnel Records Center(NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the following web site: http://www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf