Our loved ones who have decided to serve the country by being military personnel, or veterans, have made an incredible sacrifice. As they are taking on the front lines of defending and protecting a nation, they rightfully deserve all the honour, respect, and recognition possible. Their job description requires them to be brave and strong every working day, and it is only fitting that they are sent to their final resting place honourably. 

No matter where your decorated loved one has served for the military, every service member of any rank should be given the due commemoration and tribute that they deserve. If you have lost a loved one in the line of duty, or are sending off someone who dedicated their life in uniform, this is the article for you. We have prepared this complete guide to help you in honouring departed military personnel.

Why should we pay tribute to departed military personnel?

We may never be able to fully understand what military personnel go through, but we can understand the hardships and sacrifices that they have made when they decided to serve the country. By giving them a good farewell and paying tribute to them, we are, in return, giving them the respect they deserve as well as shedding light on the loyalty and courage they displayed. 

Apart from the military personnel themselves, their families and loved ones deserve to see their departed military man or woman paid tribute to. The loved ones have been with the departed, and have supported them throughout their whole job. It is only fitting that they are given a proper final tribute as well. By honouring military personnel, we are able to pay attention to their contributions to the nation, and recognize the cause that they have supported.

Will you receive a flag or headstone to commemorate the departed?

Most military countries like the United States army will provide a burial flag. This burial flag comes at no cost and is meant to be draped over the casket of the deceased during the funeral service. If the family has opted for cremation, then it can also be used to accompany the cremation urn for ashes of the military personnel.

The funeral flag is usually entrusted to the next-of-kin as a form of keepsake after the funeral. Any veteran who qualifies for military honours will be given a burial flag, However, it should be noted that only one will be given. Thus, you must look after the flag well because it will not be replaced should it be destroyed, lost, or stolen.

For unmarked graves, these can also be given a government headstone or marker without having to pay for it. These are given to eligible veterans whose loved ones will provide a copy of an official military discharge document with the official seal. 

Can you bury your loved one in a military cemetery?

Generally, military personnel who died while on the line of active duty are eligible to be buried in military cemeteries. Thus, a veteran should have been discharged or separated from duty for any other reason that isn’t dishonourable discharge. It is also necessary that they have completed at least one year of service.

What happens during a military service funeral?

A military service funeral is characterised by being held at a national cemetery, with an honour guard along with a minimum of 2 members of the Armed Forces. There is the traditional folding and handing over of the flag to the next-of-kin. There can also be gun salutes and casket bearers, depending on the level of service attained by the departed.

If you have a loved one who has passed away that served in the military, we recommend that you get in touch with his or her former employer. There may be benefits to be claimed and rites that can be performed during the funeral.