April 17, 2017 by Miller Funeral & Cremation Services Staff
One of the most distinct, powerful, and moving funeralceremonies involves the playing of Taps, followed by the resounding fire of a rifle salute. There is an innate sense of honor and pride in this act of acknowledging the dedication and bravery of a United States veteran. To this day, military service earns one of the highest forms of recognition and respect.
For family members and loved ones, accessing this service for the departed is a priority, and many wonder exactly how to secure military funeral honors.
The team at Miller Funeral & Cremation Services is here to assist you and answer common questions to help you provide this dignified, moving tribute to your loved one.
What Defines Military Funeral Honors?
In 2000, the Department of Defense introduced Honoring Those Who Served, which ensures that the families of veterans will receive military honors for their loved one. By law, these services are extended to any current or retired veteran who has served and received an honorable discharge.
Some of the time-honored traditions that often coincide with a military service include flag folding and presentation, the playing of Taps by a bugler, and rifle service.
Traditionally, caskets were transported by a horse-drawn caisson, with the American flag draped over the casket. Although some services continue the horse-drawn tradition, each modern service features the draping of the flag over the casket followed by the folding and presentation.
Honoring the veteran also includes what was once known as the “21-gun salute,” which is actually the firing of 3 rounds or “volleys” from members of the military detail (typically 3-8 members volleying three rounds). This is accompanied by the playing of Taps.
Taps has deep historical roots, as it was composed during the United States Civil War by General Daniel Butterfield of the Union Army to signal “lights out.” Due to the symbolic nature of its original intent, this song has become ubiquitous to the dimming of the light of life itself.
At the end of the service, members of the honor guard perform the flag folding ceremony, which requires precision so that only the stars are visible at the top. The flag is then handed to the spouse or closest loved one of the deceased.
Additional options for the service include:
- Color guard
- Military flyover
- More extensive rifle service
Requesting Military Funeral Honors
If you are the spouse or family member of a veteran or active member of service who has passed away, paying military tribute to your loved one is one of the best ways to express gratitude, reverence, and honor. To secure this service, we simply require your loved one’s discharge paperwork.
All details can be handled by our team, including arrangements for burial in a National Cemetery such as Houston National Cemetery.
If you wish to give your loved one this honorable “final salute,” we’re here to assist you with these details and to provide more information on military funeral honors. Please do not hesitate to call us.