The Role Of The Burial Flag In Veteran Memorial Services

One of the most iconic symbols of veteran memorial services is the American burial flag. It's one of the things that show the funeral is for a veteran arguably more so than anything else. Many people aren't fully aware of where to find these flags or how they're used in the service.

Where to Find Veteran Burial Flags

Really, there are tons of places where you can find burial flags. Many stores sell them, and there are even custom flag services that can make one specifically for the resting veteran. You may notice the prices for these flags can vary widely.

However, there's another option available to you should you choose to make use of it. The VA will provide a flag free of charge for veteran memorial services. The VA does have stipulations regarding eligibility. In general, these veterans can receive their free memorial flag:

  • Those who served during wartime
  • Those who died while on active duty
  • Any honorably discharged veteran

Receiving the flag typically requires a single form, and a trip to a post office. If you're setting up the services for a veteran, you can also ask the funeral director to obtain the flag for you. It's not a difficult process and many of them have no problem with the request.

Using a Veteran Memorial Flap Properly

The use of the flag to drape a casket is a powerful symbol. Those who are new to veteran memorial services may not understand there are proper ways of using the flag. For example, when draped over a closed casket, the blue field with stars (union) goes over the head and left shoulder of the deceased.

If only the top half of the couch is open (half couch), then the flag should drape the closed part of the coffin. The union should remain at the top and to the left.

With a fully open casket (full couch), the flag should be folded into a triangle with only the union showing. That triangle goes into the lid of the casket, right above the shoulder, to the left of the deceased.

The flag should never touch the ground, and it's not meant for burial with the deceased. After the ceremony, the pall bearers fold the flag and present it to the next of kin. Once presented, the flag becomes a keepsake for the surviving family member.

Start with a Funeral Home that Gets It

Veteran memorial services require care and an understanding of how important it is for the service to happen the right way. These services work double duty as both funerals in the traditional sense, and symbols of what it means to die a veteran. If you're preparing such a service, you need to seek a funeral home or service that understands this. To learn more about vereran memorials, speak with a business like Hartsell Funeral Home.