A funeral honor guard can be very tricky for families who are not familiar with this process.
Because I am confident my own spouse would be lost if required to make funeral arrangements that encompassed my VA benefits too, I developed a short outline to help other military families in Edina and the surrounding area.
Forms for a Funeral Honor Guard?
If your loved one never mentioned this, you heard it here first. The VA requires a form for everything. Here is what you will need to make sure a funeral guard and other funeral arrangements are affirmed for you and your family:
- Application for burial benefits: VA Form 21P-530
- Request specific funeral arrangements: VA Form 10-2065
- Application for a US Flag to be used at the funeral service: VA Form 27-2008
- Headstone for a a Military Cemetery: VA Form 40-1330
- Headstone for a Private Cemetery: VA Form 40-1330M
What does a Funeral Honor Guard do?
Members of the military assigned to an Honor Guard refer to a funeral assignment as a “detail”. The easiest way to help yourself understand what a Funeral Honor Guard will do is by watching a short film here.
Generally, upon requesting an honor guard for a Veteran, the honor guard will (1) carry the casket or urn from its location to the burial spot, (2) present a folded US Flag, (3) provide a gun salute, (4) present bullet shells, and (5) play a closing musical honor.
How many people are part of the Honor Guard?
At a minimum, the honor guard for a funeral will have at least 2 people. Larger honor guards can be much larger ranging from 4-8 people. Right or wrong, military status impacts this element of the process.
It is important to note that at least one of the persons in the honor guard will be from the same military branch as your loved one. Some families do not see why this is significant. Really though – it matters.
Should you bother seeking an Honor Guard?
As an attorney and Veteran, I hear a lot of families inquire whether it is even worth the hassle. No, it isn’t a hassle. Yes, it is well worth the time and effort.
I always encourage families to seek an honor guard for the funeral. For one, your loved one earned it by serving our country. Second, it is generally no cost. Third, it is a privilege that usually exceeds everybody’s expectations.
Thus, go the extra mile and seek a Funeral Honor Guard.
Rules Granting an Honor Guard
There are two rules that apply to a funeral honor guard in Minnesota. First, Minnesota statute 197.23 affirms the VA will pay for an honor guard.
Second, something called Public Law 106-65 is the federal rule that grants your Veteran and certain dependents an opportunity for a funeral honor guard in Minnesota.
Who manages the Funeral Honor Guard in Minnesota?
If you are seeking a funeral honor guard in Minnesota, the Department of Defense manages this process. That said, the person or entity you should contact first is the funeral home.
However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration cemetery staff can also assist with arranging military funeral honors.
Likely, planning a funeral for your loved one is stressful enough. Thus, make it easy on you and your family by delegating specifics to the funeral home.
Do you need help?
If you or your family need help or assistance with benefits and rights your loved one earned while serving in the Military, please contact this law office for help.