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Military Funeral Honors

Honoring Those Who Served

The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the Nations' 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 of a grateful Nation can provide to the veterans' families.  This article will provide the general public with information with information on Military Funeral Honors, as well as helpful links to related military and veterans issues web sites. 


What is Military Funeral Honors?

Military Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever possible. However, the law now mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family. 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 Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting 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. Today, there are so few buglers available that the Military Services often cannot provide one.

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 does a family request funeral honors?

Families of eligible veterans request funeral honors through their funeral director. The funeral director will contact the appropriate Military Service to arrange for the funeral honors detail.

Who can request military funeral honors for a deceased Marine?

Only funeral honors requests from next of kin or from the funeral director on behalf of the next of kin will be honored.

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
  • Playing of Taps

The veteran’s parent Service representative will present the flag.

Who is eligible for a burial flag?

The Veterans Administration establishes eligibility. Your funeral director will assist you in obtaining a flag. More information is available at: www.cem.va.gov

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 certificates in person at any VA regional office or by mail. For information about requesting a
Presidential Memorial Certificate and additional information please visit www.cem.va.gov

How do I request a grave headstone or marker?

Your funeral director will assist you or if you have questions about grave markers. Family members can write to the VA at:

Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road 
Quantico, VA 22134-3903

More information on this topic is available at: http://www.cem.va.gov/

How much notice should be provided for the honors request?

The Services requests at least 48 hours in order to organize the funeral honors detail.

To whom can I write to express comments or concerns about the Military Funeral Honors program?

You may write to:

Military Funeral Honors
10100 Reunion Place, Suite 260
 San Antonio TX 78216-4138

Can I get a fly over of military planes in honor of my deceased family member?

Military fly over for Marines are reserved solely for the funeral ceremony of a deceased, active duty pilot who died in an aviation related incident.

Can I get military funeral honors performed by the Marines if the deceased did not serve with the Marine Corps?

Yes, but only if the parent service in which the deceased member served in can not perform the funeral. Additionally a request in writing must be mailed to the Marine Corps requesting assistance in performing the funeral honors.

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.

Further clarification on eligibility is available in United States Code.

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 who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service.
  • Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
  • Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

How do I establish veteran eligibility?

The preferred method is the DD Form 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. The DD Form 214 may 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 Internet at: http://www.archives.gov/

Is anyone else eligible to receive funeral honors?

Yes. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as members of a Uniformed Service, are also eligible to receive funeral honors.


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