Military Funeral Honors

The rendering of 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 the country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful nation can provide to its veterans’ families.

The tradition of providing military funeral honors, in some form, began in ancient Greece and Rome. The funeral honors protocol of today traces its roots to these ancient ceremonies as well as to historical American experience.

U.S. law now mandates the rendering of military funeral honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family, provided at no cost by the Department of Defense. Your local Dignity Memorial provider can help families in making the request for military funeral honors. The request form is included in the Veterans Planning Guide offered by Dignity Memorial funeral, cremation and cemetery providers.

As provided 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 branch of service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presentation of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of taps. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording.

Please note that today there are so few buglers available that the military often cannot provide one. Should there be a need, any Dignity Memorial provider can provide an official recording of taps or assist in locating area musicians.

Who is eligible?

· Military members on active duty

· Military retirees

· Members and former members of the Selected Reserve

· Eligible U.S. veterans of any war

· Other U.S. veterans who served at least one term of enlistment and separated under conditions other than dishonorable

Who is not eligible?

· Individuals discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions

· Individuals sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole for a federal or state capital offense

· Other explicit circumstances

If you have eligibility questions, or would like to learn more about military funeral honors, visit www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil.

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