First and foremost regardless of rank, all US veterans qualify and are authorized to receive military funeral honors. Of those there are a great deal that have veteran services benefits. If you or your loved one has served on duty or in Selected Reserve they are allowed to veteran services. If your loved one served active duty and left the service under conditions other actions of dishonor are eligible to a veteran services.
When your loved one has passed away and is an eligible veteran, when planning the funeral service with your funeral home tell the director up front that your loved one is a veteran. This will ensure that the director will do all he can to preform the veteran service that your loved one is due. They will contact the appropriate Military Funeral Honors coordinator.
The Department of Veterans Affairs burial benefits have burial allowance to cover expenses of recovery, preparation, the casket and transport of the body when your loved one’s death occurs during active duty.
Upon request the VA furnishes a headstone or marker to eligible veterans. As long as your loved one was not released from his or her duties due to dishonorable discharged then they are entitled to this veteran service.
The next of kin can request The Presidential Memorial Certificate provided by the VA administration. This certificate is signed by the President and expresses recognition of the veteran’s service. You must apply through the closest VA regional office.
Your loved one will have a US flag provided for free of charge. This flag is to be placed on top of the casket or along side the urn. This flag will be given to the closest relative as a keepsake after the veteran service; this is typically part of the graveside service.
As part of the veteran service you should expect to have two members of the armed forces at the service, on member should be a representative of the service branch your loved one served in. The very minimum your veteran service should include to have the playing of taps, a flag presentation and the ceremonial folding of the flag where the flag will be handed to the closest relative. The playing of taps may preformed by a bugler if one is available, if not then taps will be played by a recording. Your loved one may be eligible for color guard, rifle detail and possible pallbearers, have your funeral director look into all services your loved one is eligible for.
The passing of a loved one is not easy to deal with and often times is very hard to handle. In regards to veteran services it is important that no matter how you feel your loved on deserves the honor of a veteran service. Showing gratitude to those who faithfully defended our country.
McCune Garden Chapel can assist in planning veteran services in Davis CA. Visit mccunechapel.com for more information about military funerals and veteran memorial services.