When a veteran passes away, it is important to honor their service and sacrifice with a respectful and dignified funeral service. Veterans and their families are eligible for a range of benefits and honors to recognize their service to our country. In this guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of funeral services for veterans and the benefits and honors available, as well as the steps that you can take to plan a meaningful and personalized funeral service for your loved one.
Benefits and Honors for Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of benefits and honors to veterans and their families. Here are some of the benefits and honors that may be available to your family:
- Military Funeral Honors
Military funeral honors are a way of showing respect and gratitude to veterans for their service to our country. These honors include a ceremonial folding and presentation of the American flag, the playing of Taps, and a rifle salute. Military funeral honors are available to all veterans, regardless of rank or branch of service.
- Burial Benefits
Veterans are eligible for a variety of burial benefits, including a burial flag, a government headstone or marker, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. These benefits are provided at no cost to the family of the veteran, and can help to honor their service and sacrifice.
- VA Survivor Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides survivor benefits to the families of veterans, including a burial allowance and a plot allowance. These benefits can help to defray the costs of a funeral service and provide financial support to the family of the veteran.
- Military Cemeteries
The VA operates a network of 147 national cemeteries throughout the United States, as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites. These cemeteries are available for the burial of eligible veterans and their family members, and provide a range of burial options, including interment of casketed or cremated remains, in-ground burial, above-ground burial, and columbarium placement.
- State Veterans Cemeteries
In addition to national cemeteries, many states operate their own veterans cemeteries. These cemeteries offer similar burial benefits and honors to national cemeteries, and may be more convenient for families who live in rural areas or who prefer a cemetery closer to home.
- Military Honors for Cremation
If the veteran’s remains are cremated, military funeral honors are still available. The honors will be provided by two uniformed military personnel, who will present the flag and play Taps. The honors can be provided at the funeral home, the cemetery, or another location of the family’s choosing.
Planning a Funeral Service for a Veteran
When planning a funeral service for a veteran, there are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that their service and sacrifice are honored and respected. These steps include:
- Contacting the VA
The first step in planning a funeral service for a veteran is to contact the VA. The VA can provide information on the benefits and honors that are available, as well as guidance on how to apply for these benefits. You can contact the VA by calling 1-800-827-1000 or by visiting their website at www.va.gov.
- Contacting a Funeral Home
Once you have contacted the VA, the next step is to contact a funeral home. A licensed funeral director can provide guidance and support throughout the funeral planning process, and can help you to navigate the benefits and honors that are available to veterans.
- Selecting a Burial Option
Veterans are eligible for a variety of burial options, including burial in a national cemetery, a state veterans cemetery, or a private cemetery. It’s important to consider the wishes of your loved one and your family, as well as any religious or cultural considerations, when selecting a burial option.
- Choosing a Service Type
There are a number of different service types to consider when planning a funeral service for a veteran. Some options include a traditional funeral service, a graveside service, a cremation service, or a memorial service. You can work with a funeral director to select a service type that meets your needs and the wishes of your loved one.
- Incorporating Honors and Benefits
When planning a funeral service for a veteran, it’s important to incorporate the honors and benefits that are available. This can include a military funeral honors ceremony, the presentation of a burial flag, or the placement of the veteran’s remains in a national cemetery. Your funeral director can provide guidance on how to incorporate these honors and benefits into your service.
- Personalizing the Service
A funeral service is a way of honoring and celebrating the life of your loved one. Consider ways to personalize the service, such as displaying photos, playing music that your loved one enjoyed, or sharing memories and stories. Your funeral director can provide guidance on how to incorporate personal touches into your service.
- Notifying Family and Friends
It’s important to notify family and friends of the funeral service details, including the date, time, and location of the service. You can also consider creating an obituary or memorial website to share information about the service and to allow friends and family to share memories and condolences.
At Sacred Space Funeral and Cremation Services we are committed to providing compassionate and respectful funeral services for veterans and their families. Our experienced funeral directors can guide you through the benefits and honors that are available and help you to create a personalized and meaningful service that honors the life and legacy of your loved one.
Call us at (408) 863-2513 to learn more about our services and how we can help you to plan a funeral service that honors the life and service of your loved one. We are here to support you and your family during this difficult time.