The Department of Defense and the VA will provide military funeral honors, gravestones or markers, and burial flags for private cemetery burials at no charge to the veteran’s surviving family members.
Military Funeral Honors
Military funeral honors are performed by the honor detail of the veteran’s service branch and must be provided if the veteran’s family requests it.
The minimum funeral honors will involve the honor detail performing a ceremony at which they will present the next of kin with a burial flag and play “Taps”.
To request funeral honors, provide the following information to the funeral home so that they can contact the appropriate service branch.
- the veteran’s full name and rank
- the veteran’s branch of service
- the veteran’s Social Security number
- the veteran’s service number.
- the veteran’s VA claim number, if applicable (for burial costs)
- the veteran’s date and place of birth
- the veteran’s date and place of death
- the veteran’s date of retirement or last separation from active duty
- a copy of the veteran’s military service record, DD Form 214
Government Headstones or Markers
The VA will provide a headstone or grave marker for eligible veterans and their eligible dependents, subject to the same requirements as burial at a national cemetery.
The headstone or grave marker will be inscribed with the following information automatically:
- Name of deceased
- Years of birth and death
- Branch of service
The following information can also be added at no charge:
- Military rank
- War service
- Exact dates of birth and death
- An emblem indicating religious belief
- Any military decorations
To apply for a headstone or marker, download VA Form 40-1330, “Claim for Government Headstone or Marker”, at http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-1330.pdf
In addition to surviving spouses, each surviving child receives a burial flag as a show of appreciation for the veteran’s service to the United States.
The burial flag will be used in the military funeral honors ceremony and then presented to the next of kin or an appropriate friend of the veteran or the veteran’s family.
The family may elect to donate the flag to be flown at national cemeteries on national holidays.
To apply for a burial flag, download VA Form 27-2008, “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes”, available at http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-27-2008-ARE.pdf.