Military Funeral Honors available to veterans

By Chris Edwards | Sep 26, 2013

The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a ceremony representing our nation’s deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country.

It is the final demonstration of respect our nation can provide to the family members of our veterans.  Every veteran who has worn the uniform of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Cost Guard has earned the performance of Military Funeral Honors by uniformed members of the Armed Forces.

Upon request, Military Funeral Honors can be performed for active duty and reserve personnel and former active duty veterans and reservists who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

The preferred method for verifying eligibility is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  If a DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document, showing other than dishonorable service could be accepted.

Photographs of veterans in uniform and official military documentation of service could be helpful in determining eligibility.

A service member’s DD Form 214 may be obtained by sending a request to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.

Family members of deceased veterans may request Military Funeral Honors through their funeral director.  For families not utilizing the services of a funeral home, they should contact the appropriate Military Service Coordinator.

Military units will provide, at a minimum, a two-person detail to present the core elements of the Military Honors ceremony.  These elements include the playing of Taps, the folding of a burial flag, and the presentation of the flag to surviving family members.

Under certain circumstances, a rifle detail and pall bearers may be provided.

The Army National Guard regularly provides Military Funeral Honors to all branches of service throughout the state of Washington.  Frequently, the Guard details are accompanied by honor guard and rifle parties from local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion Posts.

Contact information for the Washington Army National Guard Funeral Honors can be found at www.washingtonarmyguard.org/honorguard/

More information, as well as a list of Military Service Coordinators can be found at www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh

1SG Chris Edwards is a member of Headquarters Staff, 81st Brigade Special Troops Battalion.  He is the Senior Vice Commander of VFW Post # 8870.

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