Taking care of our servicemen and women is an honor for me. I get to give something back to the heroes who have given me so much in the way of freedom that mostly goes unnoticed behind the scenes but happens 24/7.
Veterans are taken away from their families for protracted periods of time, away on holidays, for their own child's birth, and many important dates. Families are never sure if when they say goodbye for a deployment if they'll ever get to hold their loved one again. I
am proud to serve those families as a way of saying thanks for putting up with so much in their own lives. And, should the supreme sacrifice be made for us, I am all the more honored to give as much as I can back to the veteran and his/her family.
In Part 1 of this series, I provided a general summary of what the government might contribute if a myriad of conditions are met. This second part is a little more cut and dried.
If you served in the military and received anything other than a dishonorable discharge, chances are very high you are entitled to the following by submitting the Veteran's DD-FORM-214 or similar proof of service to the funeral home:
- An American flag
- Military honors rendered at the graveside, funeral home or place of worship which includes a rifle salute (if available), taps, flag folding and presentation to the next-of-kin.
- A veteran's flat marker in either bronze or granite, in a cemetery other than Veteran National Cemetery. Some of the information to be put on that marker is mandated, however, some is voluntary and you will work on that with your funeral director. *Note: Even though the veteran is entitled to this, some cemeteries restrict the placement of these markers in various places within their cemetery. Check with your cemetery when purchasing property there ahead of time to make certain a veteran's marker will be permitted on that specific location within that cemetery
In a Veteran's National Cemetery, other options are available including an upright white marble monument.
There is a veteran cemetery on Bow Lane in Middletown, and some cemeteries have a "Veteran's Section." Check with your local funeral home for these.
Some burial benefits are granted to the veteran's spouse in a veteran's cemetery.
It is always good to check ahead of time as to what you do or do not qualify for. That is why I will always advocate for making pre-arranged funeral plans. I will be addressing this topic in greater detail in a future blog.
DD-FORM-214's or other official discharge papers should be preserved and stored in a safe place where family members know where to immediately access it. Veterans might be entitled to other tax benefits as well so check with your local town/city. You might be required to file a copy of your discharge papers with them which is another resource for us to attempt to locate it at the time of death for funeral/burial benefits.
I hope this is interesting and helpful to the readers. Some blogs are a bit longer than others but I want you, the reader, to obtain the most information possible under that specific heading of which I'm writing.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series which will discuss how civilians should act/re-act at a veteran's funeral/burial service.