Military Funeral Honors have always been provided whenever possible. However, the law now mandates the rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran if requested by the family. As provided by law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of not less than two members of the Armed Forces. One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent Service of the deceased veteran. The honor detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. Taps will be played by a bugler, if available, or by electronic recording. Today, there are so few buglers available that the Military Services often cannot provide one. Funeral Honors are provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to the family. The Services request at least 48 hours in order to organize the funeral honors detail. Military families of eligible veterans request funeral honors through their funeral director. The funeral director will contact the appropriate Military Service to arrange for the funeral honors detail. The core elements of the funeral honors ceremony, which will be conducted on request, include Flag folding, Flag presentation, and Playing of Taps. The veteran’s parent Service representative will present the flag. The Veterans Administration establishes eligibility. Your funeral director will assist you in obtaining a flag. Additionally:
• A list of funeral directors by state and service is available at http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/hnrs/owa/director.show_select.
• More information on burial flags is available at: http://www.cem.va.gov/bflags.htm .
• A Presidential Memorial Certificate will be provided upon request. This is a parchment certificate with a calligrahpic inscription expressing the nation’s grateful recognition of an honorably discharged, deceased veteran’s service in the Armed Forces. The veteran’s name is inscribed and the certificate bears the signature of the President. Next of kin, other relatives and friends may request the certificates in person at any VA regional office or by mail. For information about requesting a Presidential Memorial Certificate and additional information refer to http://www.cem.va.gov/pmc.htm.
• Your funeral director will assist you or if you have questions about grave markers. Family members can write to the VA at: Memorial Programs Service (41A1), Department of Veterans Affairs, 5109 Russell Road, Quantico, VA 22134-3903. For more information refer to http://www.cem.va.gov/hm.htm.
• Those eligible for military funeral honors include:
a. Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
b. Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
c. Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
d. Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
e. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
• Those not eligible for military funeral honors include:
a. Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran’s benefits.
b. Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service.
c. Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
d. Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
[Source: http://www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil Jun 2010 ++]