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Veterans Burial Flags

How to Get a Flag for a Veterans Funeral

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:

  • A veteran who served during wartime
  • A veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
  • A veteran who served after January 31, 1955
  • A 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

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 requesting 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.

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 VA regional office or U.S. Post Office. Generally, the funeral director will help you obtain the flag.

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.

How Should the Burial Flag Be Displayed?

The proper way to display the flag depends upon whether the casket is open or closed. VA Form 27-2008 provides 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.

Flag presentation protocol and flag folding: 

The U.S. flag is a symbol of our country’s independence and honor to those who have fought for it in times gone by, but also serve as reminders that military service isn't just about fighting wars foreign or domestic - every day Americans take up arms on behalf of this great nation too! The U.S flag pays tribute to America's service members, veterans, and their families by ceremoniously folding it in honor of them.

burial flag

When it comes to displaying the American flag, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow. The flag is draped over a closed casket to honor the deceased. Union blue field faces forward and covers left shoulder, while stars cover the right side of their chest.

When an urn is used, the flag is already folded and ready for presentation. The respectful handling of a veteran's remains is essential. The flag should be carried directly over the urn, without any obstruction in-between them to disturb their final resting place at sea or ground level until it becomes necessary for folded presentation ceremonies such as this one where I will make sure that you are not forgotten veterans from days gone by because we carry on your legacy today!

For More Information Call Toll-Free at 1-800-827-1000

Who gets the flag of a deceased veteran?

The flag is usually given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake. When there is no next-of-kin, the flag will be given to a friend or family member who has requested it. This way they can provide honor and dignity during your service by keeping this token as their memento. 

For those VA national cemeteries with an Avenue of Flags, they have the option of donating their burial flag for special occasions. This way we can honor our veterans in a more formal setting and with dignity!

Why is the American flag folded in a triangle?

Ever wondered why the American flag is folded in this particular way? It turns out that it resembles a tri-cornered hat worn by George Washington and other soldiers during America's Revolutionary War.

The process of making it starts with folding, which can seem very simple but takes quite some time if you want everything perfect! After thirteen triangle folds have been completed in total blue should be visible on both sides while white stars will peek out from behind.

At the end of duty each day, military bases conduct retreat ceremonies by folding the flag. The flag folding method is meant to symbolize daylight disappearing into the night’s darkness, leaving a field of blue with bright white stars shining through the night.

Why is the flag folded 13 times at a funeral?

This is what the 13 folds mean:

  1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  2. The second fold signifies our belief in eternal life.
  3. The third fold is made in honor and tribute of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace.
  4. The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God; it is to Him we turn for His divine guidance.
  5. The fifth fold is an acknowledgment to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
  6. The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
  7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies.
  8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
  9. The ninth fold is an honor to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that the character of men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
  10. The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first-born.
  11. The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  12. The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
  13. The last fold, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

Veterans’ burial flags are a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice that veterans have made for their country. These symbols can be used to create memorials or as keepsakes for those who have given so much. To learn more about how you can honor fallen heroes, contact us today! Chantilly - (703) 378-6896 | Alexandria - (703) 465-1800


In this section

Veterans Overview

Veterans Headstones

Veterans Burial Flags

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