Understanding the Elements of a Military Funeral
Those who selflessly give their lives in service to the nation receive the full honors of a dignified military funeral. Family members learn of the passing away of their loved one with a personal visit from a military chaplain and a service member. As this is occurring, arrangements are already in place for the dignified transfer of the remains to the funeral home .
The U.S. military developed strict protocols to ensure that the remains of all service members are handled with the utmost respect and care. Fallen service members re-enter the U.S. through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Family members may choose to allow news coverage of the return of fallen heroes, or they may prefer to keep the ceremony private. The remains are then carefully prepared and dressed in full dress uniform. A direct military flight brings the fallen hero to the nearest airport to the family. However, the family may request a commercial flight if they prefer. Traditionally, a military escort accompanies the remains ; however, the family may choose that an escort not be used.
At all transfer points, military personnel are on hand to render honors. The fallen service member is carried with the utmost respect at all times and he or she always travels feet-first. An honor guard, including the military escort, accompanies the remains to the funeral home.
When a military family chooses to have the funeral at a national cemetery, a six-man honor guard carries the flag-draped casket to the grave. A committal service is read and the honor guard holds the American flag over the casket. Three volleys are fired and “Taps” is played by a bugler. Then, the American flag is ceremoniously folded and an officer presents it to the family with a salute.
Some families choose to have the funeral at a private cemetery. In these cases, the honor guard may perform slightly less formal arrangements. However, the basic elements of the dignified military funeral remain.
Chapel of the Chimes is proud to offer veteran’s honors to service members and their families. Please call our funeral home in Oakland at (510) 654-0123 to discuss dignified arrangements or to request a veteran’s preplanning guide. We also invite you to tour our beautifully landscaped grounds.