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Military Funeral Protocol

If you are attending a military funeral, the etiquette rules and expectations will differ depending on whether you are a civilian or military personnel. A military funeral is a serious service that requires the utmost respect and etiquette in either case. It is time to honor a hero for their sacrifices and bid them farewell with dignity. Consider looking into funeral homes in Lakewood, WA to learn more.

A military funeral is rich in tradition, and any member of the armed forces is entitled to one upon death. The military will provide at least two soldiers for an honor guard detail, one of whom must be from the same military branch as the deceased. The deceased is given a flag to drape over the casket, which is then folded properly by the honor guard and ceremoniously presented to the next of kin.

What Should You Wear

A military funeral is an opportunity to show your respect for the deceased. This means that formal attire should be worn at all times. Wearing casual clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, or sweaters is not only frowned upon but also considered disrespectful. Civilians should dress in formal attire, similar to that of a church service. Men should wear a dark suit and tie, or slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie. Women should dress in a dark gown, suit, or skirt and blouse. Military personnel should be dressed in their class-A uniform, also known as a dress uniform.  Wearing your military mess uniform to a funeral service is not considered appropriate.

Where Should You Sit

The seating closest to the front, as with any funeral service, is reserved for immediate family members. There may only be enough seating for the deceased’s family at a cemetery. Next of kin should be in the front row because they will be receiving the folded American flag during the service. If you are seated at the grave site, you must remain seated throughout the ceremony.

When Should You Salute

If you’ve never been to a military funeral before, you might think saluting is a sign of respect. While no rule says a civilian should not salute, it can be considered disrespectful if done incorrectly or at an inappropriate time. Civilians are encouraged to remove their hats and place them over their hearts instead of saluting. If you do not have a hat, place your right hand over your heart.

If you are a member of the armed forces, you should stand and salute when necessary. The only exception is if you are serving as a pallbearer. Salutations are appropriate every time the casket is moved, when the hearse passes in your front, during the rendition of Taps, throughout the gun salute, and as the casket is lowered into the ground.

Is It Permissible for You to Bring Children

Because a military funeral includes long periods of silence and standing still, it is not recommended to bring young children unless at the request of the deceased’s family. Olderfuneral homes in Lakewood, WA children should be informed about the process ahead of time and encouraged to attend if they will be able to show their respect throughout the ceremony.

You now have comprehensive knowledge of military funeral etiquette. We hope that what you have read here will assist you in attending your next military funeral. If you have any additional questions or would like to share your thoughts on this topic, please contact the funeral homes in Lakewood, WA, or come and visit us; we are ready to assist and help you with everything that you need to know.