When people in civilian families pass away, their funerals and memorials are always private affairs. Loved ones come together to plan the funeral. They pay their respects, hold a memorial service and bury or cremate. They tap their own resources for the arrangements.
The passing of a veteran or active service member is marked in a slightly different way. When a person has made some of the highest sacrifices possible for his or her country, their passing is seen as an event of national significance, one that the country must condole, as well.
If Called upon to do so, the Military Fully Takes Charge
When a former or active member of the Armed Forces passes away, the government considers it its duty to fully take charge, if needed. Everything from performing military honors and finding a burial location at one of the dozens of military burial grounds around the country, to performing the actual burial, laying down the headstone, and caring for the site in eternity are steps the military considers its responsibility.
Military funerals held under the Honoring Those Who Served program are solemn affairs. Funerals feature members of the unit served by the deceased appearing as formal detail. Taps are performed, the coffin is ceremonially draped in the flag, pallbearers in uniform carry the casket and in certain cases, honorific fly pasts are arranged. The proceedings can be beautiful and dignified.
Nevertheless, Most Families Prefer Private Affairs
While the military is capable of stepping in and taking charge, most families would rather keep up family tradition. For this reason, the military works with the families of the deceased and with the private funeral homes that they hire. Together, they achieve a blend of the official and the private. For this to happen, families usually need to file considerable amounts of paperwork. The DD Form 214 that offers proof of military service is only the first item to file.
When the family prefers a standard government headstone for installation at a private cemetery, it takes VA Form 40-1330. VA Form 21-530 helps with reimbursements of funeral expenses. The application process can be complex.
Leaving the Hard Work to the Funeral Home
To a family recently bereaved, pushing paperwork through government can be difficult. Families picking a funeral home for their private ceremony, then, need to find a business that has experience in coordinating with the military. The DIY approach is simply impractical.
According to Cleveland Cremations, of Medina, OH, when done through a funeral home experienced in military funerals, the process can quickly become painless, and can be a huge weight off.
The paperwork gets filed in time, and the military shows up for the funeral. The memorial takes place when it should, and reimbursement for expenses made arrives without a hitch. It only takes a funeral home experienced in military funerals.