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Unread 02-25-2014, 02:14 PM   #1
Hee_Haw
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Default Military Burial Honors

I just came back from doing a funeral and burial for a former military person.

I was told that the burial would be accompanied by "full military honors". They weren't sure but the family thought it might involve guns (salute). One gal said her dad had guns, and they even give you the spent blank casings as part of the funeral package.

When we got to the final staging area before burial (where the ceremony was being held), I didn't see a firing squad (is that the right terminology?) What did occur was a poignant ceremony involving a five-man honor guard (and a camo-clad driver who stayed by the van); they did "taps" and a full-flag ceremony and presentation. No guns.

I then finished the service with a Christian committal ceremony.

Question for you military types; what are the differing "levels" of military honor at a burial? And what are the criteria for each? I was just at my neighbor's father's funeral and burial (same park, same honors), and it was really awesome (even as a civilian observer), and today as an officiant, it was a "chicken skin" moment; a way to honor a former Korean war veteran and man who survived internment camp and discrimination as a kid during WW2, then served his country as a soldier.

Any info will be appreciated. I'm doing a lot more funerals nowadays and expect to see more military burials.
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Unread 02-25-2014, 10:10 PM   #2
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Some information that might help you:

http://www.cem.va.gov/military_funeral_honors.asp


The wikipedia article is probably the one that will answer the questions you're looking for. I always wondered about it too.
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Unread 02-26-2014, 12:00 AM   #3
Hee_Haw
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Thank you Ran!

Didn't even think to go Wikipedia! Indeed it answered my questions aptly so.

Both men I referenced were non-officers; one a SSGT, today a Corporal. But the flag ceremony and taps on the bugle were eerie and hauntingly beautiful to honor those who have trained and served.

Those honor guard personnel sometimes keep busy I bet, going from cemetery to cemetery, among the 3 (?) veteran's cemeteries on Oahu.
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