According to the Department of Defense (DOD), “The rendering of Military Funeral Honors is a way to show the Nation’s deep gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This ceremonial paying of respect is the final demonstration a grateful Nation can provide to the veterans’ families.”
To be eligible for Military Funeral Honors, the deceased person must have been a:
- Military member on active duty or in the Selected Reserves
- Former military member who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable
- Former military member 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
- Former military member discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
The core services provided to the veterans family is flag folding, presentation of flag and playing of “Taps”. Additionally, funeral honors may include a 21-gun salute, Presentation of Colors and assistance from veteran’s service personnel to serve as pall bearers and escorts.
The law defines a military funeral honors detail as consisting of two or more uniformed military persons with at least one a member of the veteran's parent service of the Armed Forces. The DOD program calls for funeral home directors to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veterans' family, however the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors at VA national cemeteries. When military funeral honors at a national cemetery are desired, they are arranged prior to the committal service by the funeral home.
Veterans organizations may assist in the provision of military funeral honors. To assist the Department of Veterans Affairs with providing military funeral honors to veterans, American Legion Man ‘O War Post #8 formed an Honor Guard in 2001. The Honor Guard consists of a Color Guard and Firing Squad. For the services of this Honor Guard in the Lexington area make a request through your funeral director.
Please inform The Lexington Cemetery if you or a family member are a veteran and are eligible for military honors at the time you arrange for burial services.