Section 578 of Public Law 106-65 of the National Defense Authorization Act (passed January/2000 )mandates that the United States Armed Forces shall provide the rendering of honors in a military funeral for any eligible veteran if requested by his or her family. As mandated by federal law, an honor guard detail for the burial of an eligible veteran shall consist of no fewer than two members of the Armed Forces.
One member of the detail shall be a representative of the parent armed service of the deceased veteran. The honor guard detail will, at a minimum, perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the flag of the United States to the next of kin and the playing of Taps which will be played by a lone bugler, if available, or by audio recording.
We do have an appropriate areas for this ceremony in most of our departure locations, so please check with our booking person to make sure an appropriate area is available if you would like military honors performed.
The Military Honors forms, for the apppropriate branch of the service, are below. They should be completed and send to the appropriate address, so the military may make that appropriate preparations.
Additional information on military honors for all branches of the serice may be found on the Defence Department site.
The flag is folded 13 times and each fold has a meaning which is described below. We have assisted many families who have had this service performed and it is very special for the family, as well as for us as well as all looking on.
It is usually performed before the ash scattering service on the yacht. We have a large grassy area near our departure point the serves as a perfect location for the flag folding. Arrangements can also arrange to have special music played live at the occasion. Perhaps a bagpipe playing Amazing Grace.
When the flag is presented to the family member, slightly different verbiage is used, depending on the branch of the service the veteran served in.
Army: This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.
Navy: On behalf of the President of the United States and the Chief of Naval Operations, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to this Country and a grateful Navy.
Marine Corp: On behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to Country and Corps.
Air Force: On behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of (service member’s rank and name).
Coast Guard: On behalf of the President of the United States, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s service to Country and the Coast Guard.
If the next of kin has expressed a religious preference or belief, add “God bless you and this family, and God bless the United States of America.”
The thirteen fold procedure evolved as a means of providing religious significance to the ceremony and its participants. It is often requested to be read alongside the folding of the flag at funerals. The meaning of each fold is described below.
Meaning of Flag Folding for Military Service
1.) The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life.
2.) The second fold of the flag is a symbol of the people’s belief in the eternal life.
3.) The third fold of the flag is made in honor and remembrance of the Veteran departing ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.
4.) The fourth fold of the flag represents the people’s weaker nature. For as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him the people turn to in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
5.) The fifth fold of the flag is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Commodore Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with the other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong.
6.) The sixth fold of the flag is for where people’s hearts lie. It is with hearts that people 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 of the flag is a tribute to the Armed Forces, for it is through them that the people protect the country and flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of the Republic.
8.) The eighth fold of the flag is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that people might see the light of day, and to honor one’s mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
9.) The ninth fold of the flag is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion the character of the men and women who have made the country great molded.
10.) The tenth fold of the flag is a tribute to father, for he too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of the country since he or she was first born.
11.) The eleventh fold of the flag, 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 twelfth fold of the flag, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
13.) Upon the thirteenth and final fold of the flag, the stars are uppermost in remembrance of the United States’ national motto, “In God We Trust.”
Above from Wikipedia.