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What to Expect at a Military Funeral

We carry out memorial services at national cemeteries with dignity and respect. Find out what happens at a military funeral for a Veteran or Servicemember.

What happens during a military funeral for a Veteran or Servicemember?

There may be a brief ceremony, including any readings or military honors, led by someone of the family’s choice. This ceremony will take place at a special area called a committal shelter (not at the gravesite). A cemetery official will be there to help guide guests and family members.

The family may also choose to have military funeral honors performed during the ceremony.

Military funeral honors include:

  • The playing of “Taps”
  • A rifle detail
  • A color guard
  • Uniformed Servicemembers who present the burial flag

Note: If you requested a headstone, marker, or medallion, we’ll arrange for it to be delivered within 60 days.
Learn about Veterans headstones, markers, and medallions.

What else should I know about military funeral etiquette?

People attending a military funeral may:

  • Bring flowers, which may go with the casket or urn when it’s taken from the committal shelter to the gravesite, and
  • Visit the gravesite at the end of the workday, but not immediately following the ceremony

What happens at a military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery?

Funerals at Arlington National Cemetery are different.
Learn about Arlington National Cemetery funerals.