Funeral and Memorial Services

For generations, brave men and women have fought to protect the country, many of whom do it thanklessly.

When a veteran passes away, it can be a time of great sadness for their families, their colleagues, and those they fought to protect.

If a loved one who was a veteran has passed away, you should consider giving them a veteran’s funeral and memorial. These differ from traditional funerals or memorial services as they honor a veteran’s contribution to the country.

Navigating funeral and memorial services for veterans can be difficult when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one because it’s quite different from a service. This blog post will shed light on how you can plan funerals and memorial services for veterans.

Understanding veteran burial benefits

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers many benefits to U.S. veterans. These include:

1. Funeral Honors

Military funeral honors are given to show respect to veterans for the service they’ve done for the country. These services may include the folding and presentation of the American flag, a rifle salute, or playing Taps.

Also, these honors are available to all veterans, regardless of their rank or the branch they served in. They can be provided at a funeral home, church, cemetery, or any location you and your family choose.

2. Survivor Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs will also provide survivor benefits to the families of fallen veterans. These benefits include burial and plot allowance, which can be very helpful for families going through financial difficulties.

3. Military Cemeteries

In the United States, there are 147 cemeteries owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These cemeteries are available for both veterans and their families.

Also, families of veterans are given various burial options, like the burial of cremated or casketed remains, above-ground or in-ground burial, and columbarium placement for urns.

4. Burial Benefits

Veterans are eligible for various burial benefits, such as a government headstone, burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. These benefits will be offered to your family at no cost.

Planning the funeral service

Here’s how you can go about planning funeral services for veterans:

1. Contact the VA

The VA will need to be informed of your loved one’s passing and the funeral service you’re planning in their honor. The VA will tell you about all the benefits available to your loved one and how you may apply for them.

Remember, however, the VA will not cover all funeral costs. So you need to speak to them about which benefits you want for your loved one and cover the rest yourself.

2. Display Service Memorabilia

To give your loved one a more personal touch that will also showcase their life as a veteran, display some of their service memorabilia. Service memorabilia can include awards, badges, medals, and photographs from their time in the military.

Make sure to keep aside any memorabilia your loved one wishes to be buried with, such as their service medals.

3. Include Patriotic Elements

Try to include some patriotic elements in your loved one’s funeral and memorial services. This can be done using patriotic colors, like red, white, and blue for floral arrangements and other casket side decorations.

4. Speak with Veteran Service Organizations

Get in touch with veteran service organizations to provide additional elements to your loved one’s funeral. For example, a color guard and a rifle detail.

Creating a meaningful memorial service

The following are a few ideas you can use for a veteran’s memorial service:

1. Share Stories

Invite fellow veterans who served alongside your loved one and ask them to share stories.

These can be stories about your loved one’s endeavors in the military or something light-hearted, like fond memories of their military service.

You and your family can also share stories of your loved one that will contrast their life as a civilian with their life as a serviceman or woman.

2. Play Meaningful Music

For a veterans’ funeral, you can choose to play patriotic songs. You may also choose to play some of your loved one’s favorite songs but make sure the lyrics are appropriate for the service.

If you’re not sure about the kinds of songs your loved one enjoyed, try asking their closest family members. Also, you could contact people they served with to learn about which songs they liked to listen to during their time in the military.

Consider putting a few lyrics of these songs in the memorial program that will be given to the attendees.

3. Create a Video Montage

By making a video montage, you can show attendees how your loved one was in life.

Try to incorporate videos and photos from their time in the military and also their civilian life and put them in chronological order.

Ask the rest of the family to provide any photos and videos of your loved one depicting precious events like birthday parties or family vacations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions about funeral and memorial services offered by funeral homes near you:

1. Which family members are eligible for VA burial benefits?

Spouses and dependent children may be eligible for VA burial benefits.

2. Will the VA cover expenses for transporting the remains to the burial site?

Yes, the VA will cover the transportation costs of taking the remains to a national cemetery or wherever you decide to have your loved one interred.

3. Can a veteran be buried in a private cemetery?

Yes, they may. The VA may even provide markers and headstones for eligible veterans who want to be buried in a private cemetery.

Ask a funeral home about funeral and memorial services for veterans

Planning a veteran’s funeral and memorial service can be hard to navigate during this difficult time. But you can always ask a funeral home to give you a hand.

Funeral homes, as part of their professional funeral services, can help you navigate the intricacies of planning a funeral and memorial services for a veteran. They’ll help you get through the most difficult parts of the process so that you can give your loved one an honorable send-off.

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