Military Funeral Honors Explained

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Losing a loved one who has served in the military is a profoundly emotional experience. It’s a time of sadness and respect for their selfless dedication to our country. Military funeral honors are a time-honored tradition dating back centuries. They are a symbol of thanks, recognizing the bravery and selflessness of those who served their country in the military.

Dietrich-Mothershead Funeral Home values military funeral honors and arranges respectful, commemorative services to honor veterans’ sacrifices. We work closely with veterans’ loved ones to handle all the details and meet their wishes for a perfect funeral service.

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Federal law typically grants military funeral honors to veterans who have received a discharge under circumstances “other than dishonorable.” These honors extend to veterans and those who pass away while serving active military duty.

Special honors are given to important people. These include Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war, and those who died while serving. It does not matter what their rank is. These honorable tributes solemnly recognize their selfless service and immense contributions to our nation’s defense.

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A military funeral is a respectful event that honors the service and sacrifice of the departed through meaningful symbols and traditions. A funeral with military honors incorporates several important elements to honor a servicemember and veteran’s legacy. Here at Dietrich-Mothershead Funeral Home, we ensure these traditions are carried out with the utmost respect and dignity.

Funeral Procession

The military funeral typically begins with a solemn funeral procession to the cemetery. An honor guard consisting of uniformed military personnel carries the casket, draped in the American flag, to the gravesite. This procession symbolizes the reverence and respect accorded to the departed veteran.

The Playing of ``Taps``

The hauntingly beautiful bugle called “Taps” is a poignant and emotionally charged moment during the ceremony. A live bugler traditionally performs this solemn melody, or someone plays it through a high-quality recording. “Taps” considers a final salute to the deceased, signifying the end of their earthly service.

Placement of Headstone or Marker

After the ceremony, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides a headstone or marker for the gravesite of the departed veteran. This service is free of charge to those who have applied for Veterans Benefits and serves as an enduring symbol of their service to the country. The headstone or marker includes the deceased’s name, branch of service, and birth and death dates. They can also include unique emblems reflecting religious beliefs or military honors.

Flag Folding and Presentation

One of the most poignant and symbolic acts during a military funeral is the folding and presentation of the U.S. flag. The honor guard folds the flag into a triangle to show respect and gratitude for the veteran’s service. We give the flag to the veteran’s family with thanks for their dedication and sacrifice.

The folding of the American flag conveys deep symbolic meaning. The 12 steps in this protocol demonstrate essential values such as truth, justice, loyalty, commitment, and patriotism. 

Three-Volley Rifle Salute

The tradition of honoring veterans extends to a powerful tribute known as the Three-Volley Rifle Salute. This salute is usually given to Missouri veterans at their funeral. The rifle party, composed of an odd number of servicemen and servicewomen, fires empty cartridges into the air three times in unison. Each volley represents an act of deep respect and honor for the veteran. 

At Dietrich-Mothershead Funeral Home, we coordinate these traditional acts to ensure they are performed with precision and dignity, reflecting the high esteem in which we hold our military veterans’ service and sacrifice.

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At Dietrich-Mothershead, we understand the significance of these traditions and rituals. Our team knows the ins and outs of these protocols and can handle everything to ease the burden during this challenging time. We help with military funeral arrangements and assist you with coordinating Veterans’ Burial Benefits, Military Honors, National or State Veterans Cemetery burials, and more.

A military funeral is more than a farewell to a loved one; it’s a tribute to a life of service. At Dietrich-Mothershead, we’re honored to play a part in recognizing that service by arranging a personal and patriotic funeral. For more information about our veteran funeral services, visit our Veteran Funeral page.

Ready to begin planning a military funeral honors service or have further questions? We’re here to help. Contact us at Dietrich-Mothershead Funeral Home for support and guidance on planning and achieving your perfect military funeral with honors. 

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Your loved one’s life should be honored in a way that would make them proud. Our team of caring, compassionate funeral directors can help you add personal touches that celebrate their life.

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Our funeral services allow all attendees to express their heartfelt gratitude for your loved one’s presence in their life, whether you wish to honor them in a casual or formal ceremony.

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We provide memorial service options for those who choose cremation over a traditional burial. Our funeral directors assist with permanently placing the urn at a cemetery or columbarium.

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