We’re proud to do our part in honoring our country’s veterans. Our duty is to provide them with professional and dignified assistance during their time of need. In addition to our customary, compassionate care, we offer specific support to recognize veterans for their valiant service.
Veterans are entitled to the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of Taps. If requested, The Department of Defence (DOD) will provide an honor guard detail that consists of at least two members of the Armed Forces.
What is the playing of Taps?
The Final Salute to the veteran occurs with the traditional bugle call. This may be played by an official bugler or through a recording.
What happens during the flag folding and presentation?
The flag is carefully taken and silently folded by the honor guard. The flag is folded into 13 different folds to represent the original 13 colonies. The flag is folded into the shape of a triangle to represent the three-cornered hats worn by colonial soldiers during the Revolutionary War. When the honor guard has completed the folding of the flag, only the blue stars will be visible. The flag is then marched to the Next of Kin (or close friend if the Next of Kin is unavailable) and presented to them.
More Information on Honors
- Pallbearers: If members of the honor guard are available, they can be requested as pallbearers. This must be done in advance to ensure honor guards are available.
- Rifle Volley: The honor guard Three Volleys are fired to honor the veteran. This must also be requested in advance.
- The U.S. flag draped over the casket
- A final salute at the gravesite
In addition to coordinating honors related to the service itself, we can help you communicate with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to arrange for:
- A Presidential Memorial Certificate: This is a certificate expressing the nation’s recognition of the veteran’s service. The veteran’s name is inscribed, and the certificate bears the signature of the President.
- Headstones or markers: The VA provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans anywhere in the world and for eligible dependents of veterans buried in national, state, or military cemeteries.
- Memorial plots: If an eligible veteran’s remains are not available for burial, the VA will provide a plot and headstone or marker in a national cemetery for memorialization. If you wish to place the memorial in a cemetery other than a national cemetery, the VA will provide the headstone or marker but not the plot itself.
- Burial in a VA national cemetery: This includes the gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, a grave box, and perpetual care.
- Reimbursement of burial expenses: For information on eligibility and the different levels of potential reimbursement, please review their Guide to VA Burial Allowances.
Veterans, service members, spouses, and dependents may be eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery, as well as other benefits, if they meet one of these requirements.
One of these must be true:
- The person qualifying for burial benefits is a Veteran who didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, or
- The person qualifying for burial benefits is a service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or
- The person qualifying for burial benefits is the spouse or minor child of a Veteran, even if the Veteran died first, or
- The person qualifying for burial benefits is in some cases, the unmarried adult dependent child of a Veteran
Veterans Burial Allowance
You may be eligible for Veterans burial allowances if you’re paying for the burial and funeral costs and you won’t be reimbursed by any other organization, like another government agency or the Veteran’s employer.
You must also meet all of the requirements listed below.
- One of these relationships or professional roles describes your connection to the Veteran. You’re:
- The Veteran’s surviving spouse (Note: We recognize same-sex marriages.), or
- The surviving partner from a legal union (a relationship made formal in a document issued the state recognizing the union), or
- A surviving child of the Veteran, or
- A parent of the Veteran, or
- The executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate (someone who officially represents the Veteran)
- The Veteran must not have received a dishonorable discharge, and one of these circumstances must be true. The Veteran died:
- As a result of a service-connected disability (a disability related to service), or
- While getting VA care, either at a VA facility or at a facility contracted by VA, or
- While traveling with proper authorization, and at VA’s expense, either to or from a facility for an examination, or to receive treatment or care, or
- With an original or reopened claim for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death, if they would’ve been entitled to benefits before the time of death, or
- While receiving a VA pension or compensation, or
- While eligible for a VA pension or compensation at time of death, but instead received full military retirement or disability pay
- Or the Veteran:
- Had been getting a VA pension or compensation when they died, or
- Had chosen to get military retired pay instead of compensation
- Note:an allowance is provided for the cost of transporting a Veteran’s remains for burial in a national cemetery.
Burial allowances are unavailable for individuals who died: for certain individuals
- On active duty, or
- While serving as a member of Congress, or
- While serving a federal prison sentence
What kind of burial benefits can I receive?
- If eligible, you may receive these benefits:
- VA burial allowance for burial and funeral costs
- VA plot or interment allowance for the cost of the plot (gravesite) or interment
- VA transportation reimbursement for the cost of transporting the Veteran’s remains to the final resting place
Note: You’ll need to pay for these services or other costs first before you apply for an allowance.
Is there a time limit for filing?
You must file a claim for a non-service-connected burial allowance within 2 years after the Veteran’s burial or cremation. If a Veteran’s discharge was changed after death from dishonorable to another status, you must file for an allowance claim within 2 years after the discharge update.
There’s no time limit to file for a service-connected burial, plot, or interment allowance.
What documents do I need to send with my application?
You’ll need to send copies of these documents:
- The Veteran’s military discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents)
- The Veteran’s death certificate
- Any documents or receipts you have for the cost of transporting the Veteran’s remains
- A statement of account (preferably with the letterhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner) that has this information:
- The Veteran’s name, and
- The type of service or item purchased, and
- Any credits, and
- The unpaid balance
As a surviving spouse, do I need to file a claim for burial costs?
No, you don’t need to file a claim as a surviving spouse, as long as you’re listed as the Veteran’s spouse on the Veteran’s profile.
Our Founder George Malesich
George Malesich grew up in Leadville, Colorado. George entered the Air Force and became a career veteran. Upon retirement from the service, George entered into the Funeral Home industry with the desire to help families through their most difficult times. He wanted to create a place that empathized with, and cared for families who had recently lost someone. He especially wanted to honor our veterans. Since 2009, George has done just that. At the beginning of 2022, George passed his namesake to the team he built. We will continue to honor George and those who have given so much for their country as we carry on his legacy of offering compassionate care to those we serve.
Please visit the following links for detailed information about the options available for honoring service members and other aspects of military funerals:
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Click on Veteran Services and look underneath the Burials & Memorials heading.
- Veterans’ Funeral and Burial Benefits. Helpful information from the Funeral Consumers Alliance.