Our nation’s military service members and veterans have earned our gratitude and respect, but they also earned an honorable military funeral that signifies their dedication to the United States. But knowing how to plan a military funeral might not be something family members already understand, so this will explain what you need to do to plan such a service.
Here are some important things to consider when you try to arrange a military funeral or service for your family member or friend. In nearly all cases, however, you’ll need to provide proof of the veteran’s eligibility, like DD form 214. Send copies, though, not the originals.
National Burial Places
A U.S. military veteran can be buried in several different national cemeteries, including Arlington, another National Park Service cemetery or even a state veterans’ cemetery. Your local funeral director should be able to take care of most of the funeral arrangements, and the U.S. government will handle most of the expenses.
If instead of one of the national or state cemeteries, you choose to bury a veteran in a private cemetery, like The Gardens of Boca Raton Cemetery and Funeral Services, then the funeral director will help set up military arrangements. You’ll still need proof of a veteran’s eligibility in order to get military funeral honors, and to get reimbursed by the government for expenses.
Military Funeral Honors
Contact your honor guard representative for the branch of military service your loved one served in, or you can call (877) MIL-HONR (645-4667). They will put you in touch with the representing honor guard unit from the appropriate military branch. You can also contact the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars for assistance.
Eligible For a Veteran Funeral at Arlington?
If you’d like your deceased family member to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, have your funeral director call the Interment Office at Arlington (703) 607-8585 to make the burial arrangements. The Arlington cemetery staff assigns the graves, regardless of rank or any other variables. But the family can request a burial plot near another family member that’s already buried within the cemetery, if space permits.
Headstones and Veterans Markers
The national or state cemetery will order a headstone or marker with an inscription provided by you or the next of kin. For a private cemetery, on the other hand, the funeral director can submit VA Form 40-1330, Application for Standard Government Headstone or Marker for Installation in a Private Cemetery or a State Veterans Cemetery, but you’ll have to also provide them a copy of the veteran’s military discharge documents.
Burial Flags For Veterans
Complete VA Form 21-2008, which is the Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes, and bring it with proof of military service to any Veterans Affairs regional office or United States Post Office. Your funeral director should also help you get a flag if the veteran funeral is at a private cemetery. If burial is going to be in a national or state cemetery, then the cemetery staff will often obtain the flag.
At The Gardens of Boca Raton – Cemetery and Funeral Services, they have handled hundreds of military funerals and will be happy to assist you and your family in the South Florida area.