Military Funeral Traditions: Seven Ways to Remember America's Heroes on Veterans’ Day

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Veterans’ Day presents an opportunity to express gratitude for those who have selflessly served in the United States armed forces.

To ensure that the memory of these heroes lives on, it's fitting to learn about the time-honored practices that comprise military funeral traditions.

In this article, we will explore seven captivating ways to honor servicemen and women on Veterans’ Day and throughout the year.

1.     The American Flag Presentation

One of the most poignant moments of any military funeral is the folding and presentation of the flag. After being carefully creased to form a precise triangle, the American flag is solemnly presented to the deceased veteran's family. This act symbolizes the nation's appreciation for their service and sacrifices. It serves as a tangible reminder of the veteran's contributions to our nation.

2.     Playing of Taps

The hauntingly beautiful tune of Taps is a hallmark of military funerals. This bugle call, played by a skilled bugler or on recorded media, evokes a deep sense of reverence and finality. Its mournful melody pays tribute to the departed, reminding us of the sacrifices they made for our freedom.

3.     The Three-Volley Salute

The three-volley salute, also known as the ‘21-gun salute,’ is a moving gesture performed by a military honor guard. Although it traditionally involves firing blanks, it symbolizes a salute to the fallen hero. Each volley represents a distinct facet of military service: duty, honor, and country. This powerful tradition showcases the commitment of our armed forces to the values and principles for which they fought.

4.     Military Attire

The presence of uniformed servicemembers at a military funeral is a demonstration of solidarity and respect. These men and women, dressed in crisp uniforms, stand alongside the bereaved as a tribute to the veteran’s dedication to our nation and as a reminder that they will not be forgotten.

5.     Military Music

In addition to Taps, many families of service personnel incorporate other forms of military music into the funeral or memorial service. The armed forces have a rich musical history so there are many fitting options to choose from. Songs like "Amazing Grace" or other traditional military tunes can add a unique and heartfelt touch to the funeral.

6.     Final Committal

The final committal, often at a national cemetery or a place of significance to the departed, is the closing act of a military funeral. As the casket is lowered into the ground or the ashes are interred, there is a period of quiet reflection and reverence. This is when family and friends say their final goodbyes and the fallen hero is laid to rest with full military honors.

7.     The Missing Man Table

Military families often set up a ‘Missing Man’ table at the repast or visitation. This table is laden with symbols and items that represent the servicemember who has passed on and honors their sacrifices. It includes a single chair, a white tablecloth, a red rose, and other significant memorabilia, to create a poignant reminder of those who never returned home. If your loved one passed on some time ago, you might consider setting up a missing man place at your dining table in honor of your beloved veteran.

On Veterans’ Day, it is particularly important to recognize the rituals that pay tribute to our military heroes. These military funeral traditions remind us of the gratitude we owe to those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our nation and preserving our freedoms.

If you need additional ideas for honoring a veteran who has passed on, please contact our compassionate staff. We are here to ensure that your loved one has the special send-off they so richly deserve. 

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African-American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at

Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

It’s Women’s Health Awareness Month: Seven Strategies to Help You Take Charge of Your Health

Celebrate Women's Health Awareness Month with a renewed commitment to fortifying your wellness and resilience. It's Women’s Health Awareness Month, which highlights the importance of women’s healt...

This month we celebrate Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

The purpose is to raise awareness about the mental health and well-being of parents before, during, and after pregnancy.  Maternal mental health not only impacts parents but the child, as wel...

The Healing Power of Spring: Five Ways Nature Can Ease the Grieving Process

Nature's serene beauty offers a sanctuary for the grieving process to unfold. Amid the pain and sorrow of loss, finding solace becomes essential for healing. Nature can be a gentle yet powerful al...

Springtime Remembrance Events: Seven Heartwarming Ways to Remember A Loved One

Springtime remembrance events offer a time to gather, reflect, and honor cherished memories.           After the long chill of winter, spring ser...

These Seven Heart Health Threats Might Surprise You

The road to longevity is paved with choices that safeguard your heart health. The heart is not just a muscle; it’s the engine that keeps the body running. You may be surprised to learn that many f...

The Rules of Visitation Etiquette: Eight Tips for Being a Polite Funeral Guest

When attending a funeral or memorial service, it's crucial to understand the protocols, including proper visitation etiquette. Funeral visitations and wakes can be emotionally taxing, but they off...

National Craft Month: How Tapping Into Your Creative Side Helps Your Mental Health

March is National Craft Month and studies show a strong connection between our mental health and our creativity. The benefits of crafting range from decreased stress, improved brain productivity,...

A Practical Guide to Selecting Burial Clothes with Love and Reverence

Choosing burial clothes for a loved one can be a tender act of remembrance and profound significance. Navigating loss is a challenging experience on many levels. Despite the weight of grief, numer...

Ten Easy, Creative Ways to Add More Produce to Your Diet

Few things can enhance health and wellness like striving to add more produce to your diet. Bursting with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, produce is nature's gift to our bodi...

Your Guide to Understanding Cremation: Seven Fascinating Myths and the Truth Behind Them

Understanding cremation reveals countless misconceptions about the ancient practice. Cremation has been around for centuries but it remains surrounded by mystery. You might be surprised to know th...