Losing a loved one can be difficult, and navigating the challenges associated with planning a funeral can make this difficult time even more stressful. While the planning of a traditional funeral is challenging enough, planning a funeral for a veteran can be very difficult for loved ones with no military experience.
If your loved one was a member of the military during his or her lifetime, here are three tips to keep in mind as you plan for a veteran's funeral in the future.
1. Decide between a national or a local cemetery.
One of the most important decisions you will make when planning a veteran's funeral is determining if your loved one will be buried in a national or a local cemetery.
National cemeteries are designed specifically to serve as a final resting place for the men and women who served in the armed forces. These cemeteries are familiar with the unique needs associated with a veteran's funeral and can help you through the planning process.
Local cemeteries provide the opportunity for your loved one to be buried near friends and family members, but you will need to coordinate with cemetery staff to ensure proper preparations are made to accommodate unique veteran's funeral elements (like a color guard or rifle salute).
2. Contact the Veteran's Administration to order a commemorative medallion.
Regardless of where your loved one will be buried, he or she is entitled to the inclusion of a commemorative medallion documenting his or her service. This medallion is typically included on the headstone, and must be acquired through the Veteran's Administration (VA) office.
If you want to display this medallion during the funeral services for your loved one, you will need to contact the VA and place a rush request.
3. Coordinate with your local VFW chapter.
If there is a Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) chapter in your area, it can be beneficial to coordinate with this organization when attempting to plan a veteran's funeral. The VFW will be able to arrange for a rifle salute, trumpet player to play Taps, and flyover or military pallbearers when necessary.
Being able to rely on the members of the local VFW chapter for assistance in arranging some of the military elements of a veteran's funeral will help you ensure that you honor your loved one correctly.
Planning a veteran's funeral for a loved one can be challenging for someone with little military experience. Be sure to keep the aforementioned tips in mind to help you more successfully plan a military funeral in the future. Check out businesses, like Hartsell Funeral Home, for more information.