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VETERAN FUNERAL HONORS

   flag presentation        bugler shadow        rifle volley

 

As with the military itself, our armed forces' final farewell to comrades is steeped in tradition and ceremony.
Prominent in a military funeral is the flag-draped casket. The blue field of the flag is placed at the head of the casket, over the left shoulder of the deceased. The custom began in the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when a flag was used to cover the dead as they were taken from the battlefield on a caisson.
Graveside military honors include the firing of three volleys each, usually by seven service members. The 3-volley salute is a ceremonial act performed at military funerals as part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard. It consists of a rifle party firing blank cartridges into the air three times.
The three volleys came from an old battlefield custom. The two warring sides would cease hostilities to clear their dead from the battlefield, and the firing of three volleys meant that the dead had been properly cared for and the side was ready to resume the battle.
The three-volley salute is not to be confused with the 21-gun salute (or 19-gun or 17-gun, etc.) which uses a battery of artillery pieces.
A rifle party usually has an odd number of members, from 3 to 7. The party usually stands so that the muzzles are pointed over the casket. However if mourners are present near the grave, the party stands some distance away (often recommended at least 50 feet) so as to not deafen the attendees and minimize the disturbance. If the service is being performed indoors, the firing party stands outside the building, often near the front entrance. On the command of the NCO-in-charge, the party raises their weapons and fires three times in unison.
Modern United States military parties use M1, M14 or M16 rifles. The M1 and M14 are generally preferred over the current issue M16 because the appearance of these older rifles is more traditional and the charging handles are more easily operated in a dignified and ceremonial manner.
A bugler then calls "TAPS" – the call to the sleep of death for soldiers.
Another military honor dates back only to the 20th century. The missing-man formation usually is a four-aircraft formation with the No. 3 aircraft either missing or performing a pull-up maneuver and leaving the formation to signify a lost comrade in arms.

Veterans Reference: U.S. Department of Defense

Dept of Defense Funeral Page

VA Funeral Page

Recommend Site for Funeral Information for Veterans:

Military Funeral Honors

NOTE: The site above displays a certificate error.

The DoD has been notified and you may visit the site without issue or concern.

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