How to Honor a Veteran

April 3, 2018

If you are planning a memorial service for a veteran, it’s important to honor their service in a meaningful way. There several different options, including displaying any medals they have earned or having Military Funeral Honors rendered. Here’s what you should know about honoring your loved one after a life of serving their country.

Who Is Eligible for Military Funeral Honors?

Not all veterans are eligible for military funeral honors. Military.com publishes a list of servicemembers who may be considered eligible:

  • “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.”

To verify eligibility, a DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty is preferred. However, if the family is unable to locate this form, any document that verifies the discharge of the servicemember for reasons other than dishonorable will suffice.

Military Funeral Honors for Burial or Cremation

Contrary to popular belief, Military Funeral Honors are available for both burials and cremations. Typically, two members of the armed forces come to the service, and at least one is from the branch in which your loved one served.

For a burial, these individuals cover the casket with the American flag and position it so that the stars are near the left side of your loved one’s shoulder in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.

At the close of the service, the flag is folded and presented to the family, usually the next of kin, such as a spouse or child. At a cremation service, the flag may simply be folded and presented.

For either burials or cremations, the sounding of Taps is played by a bugler. For some eligible servicemembers, a 21-gun salute or rifle volley is included.

Benefits for Your Loved One’s Service

Military Funeral Honors are free of charge. In addition to this service, the VA offers benefits for eligible servicemembers that can help with burial or cremation costs. What benefits the family will be eligible for largely depends on whether the servicemember’s death was service related or non-service related, and will usually completely cover or provide an allowance toward the servicemember’s memorial and final resting place. A Presidential Memorial Certificate is also provided.

At Boston Cremation, we can help you honor your veteran. Contact us today for more information about Military Funeral Honors for cremation memorials and how to obtain VA benefits. Call now at 781.322.0909 for assistance in making these most important decisions.

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