Are Veterans Buried Standing Up?

When it comes to the burial of veterans, there are many misconceptions and myths that surround this solemn occasion. One of the most common misconceptions is that veterans are buried standing up, but this is simply not true. While there are specific traditions and protocols that are observed during military burials, burying a veteran standing up is not one of them.

Military funerals are steeped in tradition and are designed to pay tribute and honor to the service and sacrifice of veterans. Understanding the customs and traditions that are observed during these ceremonies can help ensure that the veterans are given the respect and dignity that they deserve.

Key Takeaways:

  • Veterans are not buried standing up
  • Military funerals observe specific customs and traditions to honor veterans
  • Understanding military funeral etiquette is important to showing respect to veterans

Understanding Military Funeral Etiquette

When attending a military funeral, it’s essential to observe the proper etiquette to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans. The following are some procedures and customs that are typically observed during military funerals:

  • Dress Code: Dress in formal attire, such as a suit and tie or dress for women. Ensure clothing is modest and respectful, avoiding bright colors and flashy accessories.
  • Arrival: Arrive at the funeral location on time and refrain from loud conversations or disruptive behavior.
  • Service: During the service, remain seated and quiet, paying attention to any instructions provided by the honor guard or officiant.
  • Flag Folding: The flag is typically folded into a triangular shape and presented to the veteran’s next of kin or closest surviving family member.
  • Taps: The bugle call “Taps” is played at the conclusion of the service, representing the soldier’s final farewell.

It’s important to note that military funeral customs may vary based on branch of service and personal preferences. However, regardless of any differences, the overarching goal is to demonstrate reverence and gratitude for the veteran’s service.

The Burial Positions for Veterans

There are several positions in which veterans can be buried, and the decision depends on the wishes of the service member or their family. Military burial traditions dictate that all remains must be interred in a casket, but beyond that, there are various options.

Burial Position Description
Full Military Honors This position involves the service member being interred in a casket with full military honors. This includes a honor guard, three-volley salute, and the playing of Taps.
Cremation Cremation is an option for veterans and their spouses. Remains can be buried in a national cemetery, and full military honors can be given with the placement of an urn on a grave.
Non-combatant Status For service members who did not die in combat, a grave marker can be requested to signify their service. The marker can be placed on a family plot or in a national cemetery.

It’s important to note that the specific burial practices may vary based on branch of service or personal preferences of the service member or their family. It’s recommended to consult with a funeral director or a Veterans Service Organization for guidance on the burial process.

Understanding Veteran Funeral Customs

Funeral customs are an important aspect of honoring and paying respect to veterans who have passed away. These customs vary depending on a number of factors such as the branch of service, religious beliefs, and personal preferences of the deceased and their family. Here are some common veteran funeral customs:

  1. The flag ceremony: As part of the ceremony, a folded American flag is presented to the next of kin as a symbol of the gratitude and respect of a grateful nation. The flag is traditionally draped over the veteran’s casket or urn during the burial.
  2. The rifle salute: A rifle salute is performed by a firing party at the burial site, with three volleys of shots fired in unison.
  3. The playing of Taps: This is a musical salute played on a bugle or trumpet at both military and civilian funerals. It is a melody that conveys a sense of finality and closure.

It is important to note that proper military funeral etiquette dictates that only active-duty military personnel, retired military personnel, or honorably discharged veterans receive these customs. Civilians who have never served in the military are not entitled to a military funeral, but it is still possible to incorporate some of these customs into their funeral if they wish.

“Military funerals are a way to honor the brave men and women who served our nation. By observing these customs, we pay tribute to their sacrifice and show our respect for their service.”

Other customs and traditions

Other customs and traditions that may be incorporated into a veteran’s funeral include a color guard procession, the playing of patriotic music, and a eulogy delivered by a fellow veteran or military chaplain. Some families may also choose to include personal touches that reflect the life and personality of the deceased, such as displaying their medals or including mementos in their casket or urn.

It is important to work with funeral directors and honor guards to ensure that any customs or traditions are carried out in a respectful and appropriate manner. These professionals have extensive experience in planning and executing military funerals, and can provide valuable guidance and support to grieving families during a difficult time.

Military Burial Protocol

During a military burial, there are specific procedures and customs that are followed to honor veterans. The protocol is designed to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the deceased veteran and to offer comfort and support to their loved ones. Here is a breakdown of the military burial protocol:

Role of the Honor Guard Folding and Presentation of the Flag Playing of Taps
The honor guard is responsible for carrying the casket, rendering salutes, and performing the flag-folding ceremony. The flag is draped over the casket with the blue field of stars at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. At the end of the service, the flag is folded in a prescribed manner and presented to the next of kin. Taps is a bugle call played at military funerals and is used to signal the end of the day, as well as to honor and mourn the dead. The playing of Taps is an emotional and solemn moment during the ceremony.

It is important to note that during the playing of Taps, attendees should stand and place their right hand over their heart. Military members in uniform should render a salute until the last note of Taps has sounded. This protocol is in place to pay respect and tribute to the sacrifices made by the veteran being laid to rest.

Honoring Veterans with a Graveside Service

One of the most important ways to pay respect to a veteran is to attend their graveside service. The ceremony typically includes military honors and traditions, such as the presentation of the American flag and a rifle salute. It is crucial to honor the veteran and their family by treating the event with reverence and respect.

The role of family and friends in the ceremony is significant, as they are allowed to participate in the event. It is recommended that attendees dress appropriately and arrive early to ensure they have ample time to pay their respects. During the ceremony, guests are expected to remain quiet and attentive, allowing the event to proceed with dignity and honor.

It is appropriate to show appreciation for the veteran’s service by bringing flowers or other small tokens of remembrance. However, be sure to check with the funeral home or family members to ensure that gifts are appropriate and in accordance with local traditions.

During the ceremony, it is customary to stand when the casket is being moved and when the national anthem is played. Guests are expected to remain standing until the end of the ceremony, after which they may approach the family and offer condolences.

It is also essential to follow proper gravesite etiquette after the ceremony. This includes not standing on the grave, avoiding loud or disruptive behavior, and refraining from leaving personal items on the gravesite.

Guidelines for Honoring a Veteran at Their Gravesite

Here are some additional guidelines to help you pay tribute to a veteran at their gravesite:

  • Remain respectful and quiet during the ceremony
  • Stand when appropriate and remove hats during the national anthem
  • Bring appropriate gifts or tokens of remembrance
  • Offer condolences to the family after the ceremony
  • Follow proper gravesite etiquette

By following these guidelines, you can pay your respects to a veteran and their family while honoring their service and sacrifice.

Common Misconceptions about Veteran Burials

There are many myths surrounding veteran burials, and it’s important to dispel them in order to properly honor the service of our nation’s veterans. One common misconception is that veterans are buried standing up. In reality, veterans are buried in the same position as anyone else, lying flat on their back.

Another myth is that veterans are buried with their boots on. While this may have been true in some cases in the past, it is not an official tradition or requirement. Veterans are typically buried in dress shoes, just like anyone else.

It’s also important to note that veterans of all religions are eligible for military funeral honors and that the ceremony can be adapted to fit the specific customs and beliefs of the individual and their family. Military funeral honors can include the playing of religious music, specific prayers or readings, and other customs deemed appropriate by the family.

By understanding and dispelling these misconceptions, we can ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the proper respect and honor they deserve during their final farewell.

Paying Tribute to Veterans

Honoring veterans is a meaningful way to show gratitude for their service and sacrifice. Whether you attend a military funeral or participate in a commemorative event, there are many ways to pay tribute to veterans. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Place flags or flowers on veterans’ gravesites.
  • Participate in a moment of silence at 3pm on Memorial Day to honor fallen heroes.
  • Attend a Veteran’s Day parade or ceremony to show support for veterans.
  • Write letters or emails of gratitude to veterans and their families.
  • Volunteer with organizations that support veterans, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars or Wounded Warrior Project.

By taking the time to pay tribute to veterans, we can show our appreciation and respect for their service and sacrifice.

Supporting Veterans and Their Families

Providing support to veterans and their families during times of bereavement is crucial in showing gratitude for their service and sacrifice. There are many resources and organizations available to assist grieving families.

Organization Services Provided
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Provides compassionate care, casework assistance, and 24/7 support to all those grieving the death of a military loved one.
Wounded Warrior Project Offers a variety of programs and services for veterans and their families, including grief counseling and support groups.
Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) Provides dedicated and comprehensive support to Army families who have lost a Soldier.

Aside from these organizations, communities can also lend their support by offering to assist with funeral arrangements, providing meals, or simply offering a listening ear. Small gestures can make a big impact on those who have lost a loved one.

Remember, supporting veterans and their families is not just limited to times of mourning. It is important to offer ongoing support to ensure they feel valued and appreciated for their service.

Volunteering at veteran-related events, advocating for veteran rights, and participating in commemorative events are all ways individuals can continue to honor veterans and their families beyond their burial. Let us continue to show our gratitude and appreciation for all they have done for our country.

Preserving the Legacy of Veterans

Preserving the legacy of veterans is an essential part of honoring their service and sacrifices. Through storytelling, historical preservation, and commemorative events, we can ensure that the memory of veterans lives on for generations to come.

One way to preserve the legacy of veterans is through storytelling. Sharing the experiences and memories of veterans not only honors their service but also educates future generations about the sacrifices made for our country. Consider recording interviews with veterans or encouraging them to write down their stories and memories.

Historical preservation is another crucial aspect of honoring veterans. This can involve preserving artifacts and documents related to their service, as well as creating memorials and exhibits that honor their achievements. Local historical societies and veteran organizations are excellent resources for getting involved in these efforts.

Commemorative events, such as Veterans Day parades and Memorial Day ceremonies, are also essential for preserving the legacy of veterans. These events provide an opportunity for communities to come together to honor veterans, show appreciation, and remember their sacrifices. Volunteering or participating in these events is a meaningful way to show support and honor veterans.

By preserving the legacy of veterans, we ensure that their sacrifices are never forgotten. Through storytelling, historical preservation, and commemorative events, we can honor their service and ensure that their memory lives on for generations to come.

Honoring Veterans Beyond Burial

While a dignified burial ceremony is a crucial way to honor veterans, there are many other ways to show support and gratitude beyond the graveside. Here are some suggestions:

  • Volunteer: Seek out organizations that serve veterans in your area and offer to lend a hand. From assisting with job searches to visiting veterans in nursing homes, there are many ways to make a difference.
  • Advocate: Speak up for veteran rights and support policies that benefit those who have served our country. Contact your elected representatives to let them know that this is an important issue to you.
  • Commemorate: Attend events and ceremonies that honor veterans throughout the year, such as Veterans Day parades or Memorial Day services. By participating in these events, you help ensure that the service and sacrifice of veterans is not forgotten.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

Remember, honoring veterans is an ongoing commitment, not just a one-time event. By finding ways to support and show gratitude to those who have served, we are building a stronger, more compassionate community.


In conclusion, understanding military funeral etiquette and burial traditions for veterans is an important part of paying tribute to the service and sacrifice of those who have served our country. By respecting customs and observing protocol, we can honor veterans with the dignity and respect they deserve.

It’s important to remember that honoring veterans goes beyond the burial ceremony. We can continue to support veterans and their families by volunteering, advocating for their rights, and participating in commemorative events. By preserving the legacy of veterans, we ensure that their sacrifices and achievements are remembered and honored for generations to come.

We hope this article has dispelled any misconceptions surrounding veteran burials and provided valuable information on how to properly honor veterans. By coming together as a community, we can ensure that veterans receive the recognition and appreciation they have earned.


Q: Are veterans buried standing up?

A: No, veterans are not buried standing up. This is a common misconception. Veterans are laid to rest in a traditional manner, similar to non-veterans. The burial positions and customs may vary depending on personal preferences and branch of service, but standing up is not one of them.

Q: What is military funeral etiquette?

A: Military funeral etiquette refers to the specific procedures and customs followed during military funerals to honor the veterans. It includes protocols for the honor guard, the folding and presentation of the flag, the playing of Taps, and other respectful gestures. It is important to respect and adhere to these traditions during the burial process.

Q: What are the burial positions for veterans?

A: The burial positions for veterans typically involve interment in a casket. The specific position may vary based on the branch of service or personal preferences. It is best to consult with the funeral director or cemetery staff for detailed information on the burial positions for veterans.

Q: What are some veteran funeral customs?

A: Veteran funeral customs encompass a range of practices observed during veteran funerals. These customs are designed to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of veterans. They may include the playing of military music, the firing of three volleys, the folding and presentation of the flag, and other rituals that symbolize honor and respect.

Q: What is military burial protocol?

A: Military burial protocol refers to the specific procedures and guidelines followed during military burials. It includes the roles and responsibilities of the honor guard, the proper folding and presentation of the flag to the family, and the playing of Taps. Following military burial protocol ensures a dignified and respectful ceremony.

Q: How do we honor veterans with a graveside service?

A: Honoring veterans with a graveside service involves creating a dignified and respectful ceremony. Family and friends play a significant role in this process, and appropriate behavior and gestures of respect should be observed. It is important to consult with the funeral director or cemetery staff for guidance on honoring veterans during a graveside service.

Q: What are some common misconceptions about veteran burials?

A: There are several common misconceptions about veteran burials. One of them is the belief that veterans are buried standing up. This is not true. Veterans are laid to rest in a traditional manner, similar to non-veterans. It is important to seek accurate information and dispel these myths to have a better understanding of the true practices.

Q: How can we pay tribute to veterans?

A: Paying tribute to veterans can be done in various ways. During the burial ceremony, it is important to follow military funeral etiquette and show respect. Beyond that, individuals can honor veterans throughout the year by participating in commemorative events, volunteering, advocating for veteran rights, and supporting organizations that assist veterans.

Q: How can we support veterans and their families during times of bereavement?

A: Supporting veterans and their families during times of bereavement is crucial. There are resources and organizations dedicated to providing assistance to grieving families. Getting involved in these initiatives, offering a helping hand, and being there for emotional support can make a significant difference in the lives of veterans and their families.

Q: How can we preserve the legacy of veterans?

A: Preserving the legacy of veterans is important to ensure their sacrifices and achievements are remembered and honored. Storytelling, historical preservation, and commemorative events play a significant role in this. Recording and sharing veterans’ stories, supporting historical preservation efforts, and participating in events that commemorate their service are all ways to preserve their legacy.

Q: How can we continue honoring veterans beyond burial?

A: Honoring veterans can extend beyond their burial. Individuals and communities can continue to support veterans by volunteering, advocating for their rights and needs, and participating in commemorative events. It is important to show ongoing appreciation and gratitude for their service throughout the year.