Burial Flag

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by coonisland, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. coonisland

    coonisland New Member

    Hi Folks,
    I'm new here and stopping by to ask a question about a flag from a military veteran's funeral. I have had very little success finding proper protocol for the flag that was presented.
    The Flag Code states the flag should be presented to the "next of kin". Would that be the oldest child of this widow?
    The family member who received the flag intends to bury it with the cremated remains. Other family members find this reprehensible.
    Some say it should remain folded and stored in a case. Some say it should never be flown.
    I need some facts, or at least some strong opinions.
    Thanks. Coon Island
     
  2. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    Well, first the easy one - it should not be buried with the person, particularly since you mention cremation. In my own opinion that pparticular flag is a memorial to the life of the soldier, once you give it away like that, you can never get it back.

    Personal preference dicatates if you want to fly it or display it in a case. The traditional route is to display it in a case. This will allow the flag to live a longer life as it won't be going through the demanding conditions a flag goes through in terms of weather. However, there is nothing that says you can't fly it, if you go that route bear in mind most memorial flags are 5'x9.5' and are made out of traditional cotton. Thats a very large and heavy flag for residential use. At that height an in ground pole is basically a must, and at that going by the recomended flag size to pole height guide in the latest Annin catalog, a 5x8 calls for a 30' pole. (It's all about proper proportion). Then since cotton isn't an all-weather material unless you plan on being very dilligent in flag care your family memorial heirloom may not last as long as you'd like.

    In my own case, I lost my father in 1994 (he served in Korea) and I received a 5x9.5 cotton flag made by Valley Forge that I proudly display in a wood and glass triangle shaped box.
     
  3. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    The Flag Code states the flag should be presented to the "next of kin".

    Just as an aside, the Flag Code does not actually say this -- it does not deal with funerals other than to specify how the flag is supposed to be placed on a casket. The handling of the flag in military funerals is covered in military regulations. For example, the US Army Field Manual on "Drill and Ceremony" (FM 3-21.5) says:

    "For flag folding, upon conclusion of “Taps,â€￾ the representative and his assistant move closer to the casket. When the flag is secured and raised, the detail takes three steps away from the mourners and fold the flag. When the flag is properly folded, the detail assistant hands the flag to the detail leader and posts to a position next to the side or rear of the family. After the assistant departs, the detail leader presents the flag to the next of kin using the following wording: “As a representative of the United States Army, it is my high privilege to present to you this flag. Let it be a symbol of the grateful appreciation our nation feels for the distinguished service rendered to our country and our flag by your loved one.â€￾ After presenting the flag, the detail leader offers condolences."

    The other services have similar regulations, although the exact phrasing of the presentation varies.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  4. coonisland

    coonisland New Member

    My mistake, Peter. I have researched so many sources, I cited the Flag Code rather than the VA. After this experience I believe I will request "no flag" upon my own demise, thereby saving the family this sort of confusion!
     
  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    My mistake, Peter.

    Oh, hey, no problem! Actually, your post made me curious. I knew that it wasn't in the flag code (not surprising, because the code doesn't deal with military matters for the most part), and I started wondering exactly what the regulations were.

    I believe I will request "no flag" upon my own demise, thereby saving the family this sort of confusion!

    I really don't think that the military will be confused! I'd go with the flag.

    By the way, welcome to the forum! Hope you find it interesting.

    Best,

    Peter Ansoff
     
  6. mehumm

    mehumm New Member

    I have a question on the folding for the burial flag. Is there any meaning to the folding of the flag. My sisters husband just passed and someone told her that each fold of the flag had a meaning. I have never heard of this. Anyone know.
     
  7. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Hello, Mehumm, glad to have you with us!

    Check out the "Folds for Funerals" thread in the "Miscellaneous Flag Discussion" section. This is probably the "meaning" that your sister heard about concerning the folds of the flag. This litany has no official standing; it's just something that somebody made up. Personally, I'm not all that fond of it, but it seems to be popular.

    Best regards,

    Peter Ansoff
     

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