November 11, 2020

Military Funeral: What Do They Look Like?

 Military funeral in many ways is similar to a traditional funeral with a few exceptions. They can range from being large in scale, to very intimate with only immediate family attending.

Family members can choose the type of service they want depending on the rank and wishes of the deceased. Military funerals involve more with the soldiers attending rather than the general public/civilian. Service members salute at certain times throughout the service and might even play a role in the funeral.

Who Is Qualified For A Military Funeral?

The biggest criteria for who is qualified for a military funeral is that the deceased has been a member of the United States Military. They could’ve been a member of the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, or Navy and have completed at least one term of service. 

Anyone who is a veteran or died during a battle is eligible for a military funeral. The family member of a veteran can also qualify for a military funeral. The government must perform a military funeral when requested by the family.

Soldiers that have been dishonorably discharged are not eligible for a military funeral. The general court-martial is the only agency that hands down a dishonroable discharge to a military member. In many states it is a felony conviction.

What Does A Military Funeral Look Like? 

Military funerals consist of several distinct actions. Depending on the rank of the deceased, there could be an honor guard, rifle detail and the playing of the military song “taps”. Performing a 21 gun salute is another distinct action that can be requested by the family.

An honor guard is a detail that is present at the funeral and consists of at least one representative from the deceased veterans branch.

A 21 gun salute is a firing of a blank rifle or canon into the air rendering the weapon in-effective. This is to show remembrance for the fallen and the number of rounds fired varies on the conditions.

Where Do They Take Place?

Often times if the full ceremony is performed, they take place at a committal shelter. These are located in a place that is suitable for military rituals but are not an actual gravesite. If no shelter is available, the traditional gravesite will work. These services always take place outdoors which allows for the firing of weapons.

Anyone is allowed to attend a military funeral as long as they are friends, family or fellow officers of the deceased.

How Does The Service Work?

 A family member or funeral director will typically lead the service. Any honors that the deceased received during the line of duty, will be read aloud during the service. 

After the honors are read, “taps” will be played, color guards will be present the flags and a 21 gun salute will commence. 

The honor guard presents the flag in the shape of a triangle to the next of kin and recites the following “On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States (Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard), and a grateful nation, please except this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved ones honorable and faithful service.

Military funerals are typically shorter than non-military funerals. They are usually under an hour and closer to 30 minutes.

Typical funeral attire is required and any active military service members will come in full uniform. During the service active military members will be required to salute periodically.

At Wyuka, We Are Proud To Assist.

We are proud to say that we offer Military/Veteran services. Upon the request from a family, every eligible veteran receives a military funeral honors ceremony. The planning process is not much different from a traditional funeral, but our staff is here to help you along the way if you have any questions. 

If a military funeral is something your family is interested in, we would love to speak with you. A military funeral is a beautiful yet sad, ceremony and we want to help you with the entire process. 

Call us at 402.474.3600. We’re here for you.  


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