What to Expect at a Military Honors Funeral

There’s nothing quite like a military funeral. It is a momentous occasion that often celebrates the life of someone who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Military funerals aren’t just reserved for fallen soldiers though.

Who is eligible for military funeral honors? Anyone who served at least one term in the five branches of the military (with some exceptions). What is involved in a military funeral? There are several significant symbolic components to a military funeral—this article will delve into those and more.

Who is eligible for military funeral honors?

Anyone who served at least one term in the marines, army, navy, air force or coast guard is eligible to request a military honors funeral. This also applies to people related to the veteran, like their spouse or child if they are a minor.

Are there any veterans who aren’t eligible for military honors funerals?

Yes, veterans who have been dishonorably discharged are ineligible to receive a military honors funeral.

Who handles the military aspect of the funeral, and how much does it cost?

The United States Department of Defense is required by law to grant any eligible veteran a military honors funeral free of charge.

How do you apply for a military funeral?

Your funeral director can help you with this, or even contact the necessary people for you, but having the veteran’s discharge papers (DD Form 214) to prove that the person who served wasn’t dishonorably discharged would likely make the process easier.

What is involved in a military funeral?

Some unique facets of a military funeral are the playing of Taps, a rifle detail, a color guard and the presence of at least two uniformed service members who will fold and present the American flag to a member of the veteran’s family or one of their close friends.

Where are military funerals typically held?

Due to the rifle detail and the possible presence of horses, the funeral service typically takes place outdoors at a military committal shelter. These committal shelters are designed specifically to accommodate the various aspects of a military funeral. The committal service will usually take about 20 to 30 minutes.

Should you salute during a military funeral?

Though there’s no rule against it, saluting is best left to the former and active military personnel in attendance. In lieu of saluting, you, as a civilian, may remove your hat and place it or your hand over your heart.

What should you wear?

Like any funeral, it’s best to don dark-colored formal attire at a military honors funeral. For male civilians, this means wearing a suit or at the very least dress pants, a dress shirt and tie. For civilian women, a formal dress, suit or skirt and blouse would be deemed appropriate. Former and active servicemen and women should wear their Class A uniform, which is also known as the dress uniform.

Call to schedule your funeral services today

Now that you know who is eligible for military funeral honors and what is involved in a military funeral, call us at Evergreen Funeral Home, Cemetery & Cremations. We understand how important it is for you to mourn with others and say goodbye to your loved one, and we’d be happy to help you with any part of the funeral planning process.