Flag Folding & Presentation Protocols
Upon the family's request, every eligible Veteran shall receive a military funeral honors ceremony that includes folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps.
The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the Veteran's parent service of the armed forces.
A United States flag drapes the casket of deceased veterans to honor the memory of their service to the country.
The ceremonial folding and presentation of the flag is a moving tribute of lasting import to the veteran's family.
The flag is placed on a closed casket so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased.
After Taps is played, the flag is carefully folded into the symbolic tri-cornered shape. A properly proportioned flag will fold 13 times on the triangles, representing the 13 original colonies. The folded flag is emblematic of the tri-cornered hat worn by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, no red or white stripe is to be evident, leaving only the blue field with stars. It is then presented as a keepsake to the next of kin or an appropriate family member.
The Flag Presentation Protocol is as follows:
Stand facing the flag recipient and hold the folded flag waist high with the straight edge facing the recipient.
Lean toward the flag recipient and solemnly present the flag to the recipient.
Effective April 17, 2012, the Department of Defense standardized the flag presentation verbiage for military funeral honors ceremonies. The following verbiage will be used when presenting the American flag during the funeral service:
'On behalf of the President of the United States, (the United States Army; the United States Marine Corps; the United States Navy; the United States Air Force; or the United States Coast Guard), and a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service.'
10 Important Facts
- Burial Benefits
Burial benefits available for veterans buried in a national or private cemetery may include a burial flag, government headstone, marker or medallion, and a presidential memorial certificate, at no cost to the family. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. There are not any VA benefits available to spouses and dependents buried in a private cemetery.
- Burial Flags
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the U. S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran’s military service to his or her country. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for an other than dishonorably discharged:
- Veteran who served during wartime
- Veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
- Veteran who served after January 31, 1955
- Peacetime veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
- 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
- Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?
Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it.
- How Can You Apply to Receive the Burial Flag to honor a veteran’s military service?
Call the local VA at 760-341-5570 and how to obtain a flag.
- Headstones, Markers and Medallions
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.
- How can I order a headstone, marker or medallion for a deceased eligible veteran?
Call the local VA at 760-341-5570 and ask for help to obtain a headstone, marker or medallion.
- Military Funeral Honors "Honoring Those Who Served"
Upon the family's request, Public Law 106-65 requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, to include folding and presenting the United States burial flag and the playing of Taps. The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one being a member of the veteran's parent service of the armed forces.
- How do you arrange Military Funeral Honors?
The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veterans' family. To arrange military funeral honors, simply call the local VA at 760-341-5570 and ask for help to arrange Military Funeral Honors.
- Presidential Memorial Certificate
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by the current President, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans. The program was initiated in March 1962 by President John F. Kennedy and has been continued by all subsequent Presidents. Statutory authority for the program is Section 112, Title 38, of the United States Code. Eligible recipients include the next of kin and loved ones of honorably discharged deceased veterans. More than one certificate may be provided.
- How can you apply to receive a Presidential Memorial Certificate to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veteran?
Application for a Presidential Memorial Certificate for eligible recipients can be made by U.S. Mail. A copy of the veteran's discharge and death certificate must be included with the application. A print copy of the application form is available at the funeral home. To obtain a print copy of the application, simply call the local VA at 760-341-5570 and ask for a print copy of the Presidential Memorial Certificate application.