Military Funerals: Honors & Procedures

The personal sacrifices made by members of the armed forces cannot be overestimated. At Dignity Memorial®, we deeply appreciate those who have served our country with courage and selflessness.  Dignity Memorial® providers are honored to do our part in turn by caring for military veterans and their families.

Military funeral honors are a dignified ceremony and final demonstration of deep gratitude to those who have faithfully defended our country.  Dignity Memorial® professionals are privileged to coordinate the military funeral honors ceremony befitting of your loved one’s service to the United States. Whether your loved one is buried in a VA national cemetery, a state veterans cemetery or a private cemetery, we ensure that all veterans receive the military funeral honors they are entitled to.

Military funeral honors and protocol

U.S. law mandates the rendering of military funeral honors for an eligible veteran, if requested by the family, at no cost by the Department of Defense. Your local Dignity Memorial provider will help your family request military funeral honors and ensure the following benefits are made available.

Folding and presentation of the flag

An esteemed military funeral custom, the folding and presentation of the flag is provided to your family at no cost. All veterans receiving military honors are entitled by law to a minimum of 2 members of the Armed Forces as their honor guard detail. At least one of the honor guard members will be from the veteran’s service branch. The representative of the veteran’s parent service branch will present the flag to the next of kin or, if none is available, a designated friend.

Playing of “Taps”

The playing of “Taps” is an emotionally moving and patriotic military funeral tradition. As buglers are becoming increasingly rare, a ceremonial bugle may be used in lieu of a live performance of “Taps.” A high quality recording of “Taps” performed at Arlington National Cemetery during a service was made and is discreetly hidden in the bell part of a bugle. The service member holds the ceremonial bugle as though being played. This tool offers both the image and beautiful rendition of “Taps” being performed in honor of the veteran. If preferred, Dignity Memorial professionals are happy to assist in locating a local musician to perform “Taps.”

Military funeral honors eligibility

Military funeral honors are available to eligible members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard.

Those eligible for military funeral honors, as set forth by the Department of Defense, include:

  • Military members who died while on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
  • Former military members who served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions

If your loved one is qualified for funeral honors, please notify your Dignity Memorial funeral director that you are interested in having a funeral service complete with military honors. We recommend giving at least 48 hours’ notice, if possible, to give our professionals time to organize the ceremony.

Provision of a headstone or marker

The Veterans Administration will provide a headstone, marker or medallion without cost at the request of the veteran’s family. Dignity Memorial professionals can assist you with this request as well. Please note, although the headstone or marker has no cost, there may be a cost associated with placing the tribute if done in a private cemetery.

Additionally, Dignity Memorial providers offer special benefits and discounts on services and merchandise for veterans.

Plan a memorial fit for a hero

Serving in the military is a badge of honor that deserves recognition. With no obligation and at no cost to you, we’ll walk you through the details of advanced funeral planning for veterans and help you understand your options. A Dignity Memorial® planning professional can give insight into the many choices you have to fund your plan, as well as burial benefits provided by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), allowing you to take control of funeral costs and lock in current prices. From the folding of the flag to the playing of “Taps” and other government benefits, we will help you plan a memorial fitting of your loved one’s service to our country.

We invite you to discover the exclusive savings and benefits available to members of the Houston Police Officers Union.  For personalized assistance and a detailed exploration of all available options, please contact Carla Baker, your Preplanning Advisor for the Houston Police Officers’ Union, at 954-347-0071 or

Published June 10, 2024

Author Dignity