Who Receives the Burial Flag After a Veteran’s Funeral?
Dec 09, 2022
Whether your veteran loved one was active duty or retired at the time of their passing, they will get a burial flag draped over their coffin or accompanying their urn. This flag signifies and honors their great service to our country. Towards the end of the ceremony, Taps is played and the flag is folded into 13 triangles, symbolizing the original 13 colonies. Then, the flag is presented to the next of kin, typically by the military chaplain.
What happens in the military burial flag ceremony?
During the military burial flag ceremony, the casket is draped with the American flag with the union (the field of blue) is over the deceased’s head and left shoulder. If there is no casket, the flag will accompany the urn. Depending on the deceased veteran’s rank, the casket or urn may arrive pulled by a horse drawn caisson.
After the casket or urn arrives, military members fire three volleys from rifles, symbolizing duty, honor, and sacrifice. (These volley cartridges are often presented in the folded burial flag before the military chaplain presents it to the veteran’s next of kin.) Taps is then played and the flag folding ceremony begins. The flag is folded into 13 triangles, then presented to the military chaplain. The military chaplain then presents the flag to the veteran’s next of kin with words of condolence.
Who is considered the deceased veteran’s next of kin?
The U.S. military has specific guidelines on who is considered the deceased veteran’s next of kin. The military considers the order of next of kin as:
- Veteran’s spouse
- Veteran’s children (oldest first)
- Veteran’s oldest parent or guardian
- Veteran’s adopted relative (granted legal custody)
- Veteran’s oldest grandparent
What happens if there is no next of kin for the deceased veteran?
Sometimes, the deceased veteran has no next of kin. If this is the case then the flag will be presented to another close family member or friend after the ceremony.
Did you know?
Real American Flags is one of the four manufacturers of the official VA Interment Flag. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs furnishes families with burial flags specifically for:
- Veterans who served during wartime
- Veterans who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
- Veterans who served after January 31, 1955
- Peacetime Veterans who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950 after serving at least one enlistment, or for a disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty
- Certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S. Armed Forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
- Certain former members of the Selected Reserves
However, veterans are not the only people that can have burial flags at their funerals. Did you know there is no specific code or rule stating that only veterans can have a flag over their casket or accompanying their urn? Firefighters and police officers also often have burial flags on their caskets. In fact, Real American Flags sold several 3×5 American flags for police dog caskets just last month.
Any patriotic American citizen can be afforded the honor of having an American flag draped on their casket. At Real American Flags, we are proud to make authentic flags that any American citizen deserving of this great honor can have at their funeral.