Office of Procurement, Acquisition and Logistics (OPAL)
Burial Flags Frequently Asked Questions
- Why Does VA Provide a Burial Flag?
- Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?
- How Can You Apply?
- Can a Burial Flag Be Replaced?
- How Should the Burial Flag Be Displayed?
- What if more than one family member wants a flag?
- Where can we purchase flags commercially?
- Who may complete a Flag Application?
- How Can the Funeral Director help the VA and the Veteran?
- We were given a defective flag, what do we do?
- My post office either doesn’t have flags or has a difficult time keeping enough on hand. What can be done?
- Where can I get VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Burial Flag?
1. Why Does VA Provide a Burial Flag?
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a Veteran’s military service to his or her country. VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization for each other than dishonorable discharged.
- Veteran who served during wartime
- Veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
- Veteran who served after January 31, 1955
- peacetime Veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
- certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S Armed forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
- certain former members of the Selected Reserves
2. Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag?
Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it. For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, families of Veterans buried in these national cemeteries may donate the burial flags of their loved ones to be flown on patriotic holidays.
3. How Can You Apply?
You may apply for the flag by completing VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. You may get a flag at any U.S. Post Office or VA regional office. Generally, the funeral director will help you obtain the flag.
4. Can a Burial Flag Be Replaced?
The law allows us to issue one flag for a Veteran’s funeral. We cannot replace it if it is lost, destroyed, or stolen. However, some Veterans’ organizations or other community groups may be able to help you get another flag.
5. How Should the Burial Flag Be Displayed?
The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. The instructions on VA Form 27-2008 does provide the correct method for displaying and folding the flag. The burial flag is not suitable for outside display because of its size and fabric. It is made of cotton and can easily be damaged by weather.
For more information, call toll-free (800) 827-1000 or visit the National Cemetery Administration’s web site.
6. What if more than one family member wants a flag?
Only one flag may be issued to the family member or friend identified on the VA Form 27-2008, Application for United State Burial Flag. Only one application may be completed for each deceased Veteran.
7. Where can we purchase flags commercially?
A number of companies manufacture flags to the general specifications for VA burial flags and the VA may not endorse a particular manufacturer nor be held responsible for the quality or correctness of a commercially purchased flag. VA Flags are manufactured to stringent standards using 100% US materials and construction.
8. Who may complete a Flag Application?
A flag may be issued to a funeral director or anyone else who certifies by signature the eligibility of the deceased Veteran even if requested eligibility documentation is not attached.
9. How Can the Funeral Director help the VA and the Veteran?
Complete the Flag Application as completely as possible with all available information requested on the form and turn in the application to the post office as soon as possible following the death of the Veteran. The information provided helps the VA in the death notification process, easing the burden on family members as well as authorizing the post office to order a replacement flag ensuring availability to the funeral director for future requirements.
10. We were given a defective flag, what do we do?
Return the flag to the post office from which it was received. The post office may replace the flag with another and return the defective flag to the VA for replacement.
11. My post office either doesn’t have flags or has a difficult time keeping enough on hand. What can be done?
Ask the post office to contact the USPS Material Distribution Center at the phone number or email account listed below and an MDC Service Representative will ensure the post office is resupplied with sufficient flags to meet their needs. The VA does not supply flags directly to a funeral home but will always respond to calls or questions to ensure that burial flags are always available.
12. Where can I get VA Form 27-2008, Application for United States Burial Flag?
The current Flag Application is dated July 2012 and is available for downloading at http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-27-2008-ARE.pdf.
*Note: You may need to visit the VA Viewer Software page to view these documents.