Funeral with Military Honors

A funeral with military honors is steeped in tradition and any member of the armed services is entitled to this rite of passage upon their death. The military will provide an honor guard detail of at least two service members, one of which must be from the same military branch as the deceased. The deceased is provided with a flag that is draped over the casket, folded properly by the honor guard and then ceremoniously presented to the next-of-kin. A military funeral always has Taps played by a bugler or on a stereo at the end of the funeral.

What to Expect

Military funerals are solemn affairs and frequently, everyone in attendance, with the exception of immediate family, will remain standing for the duration to show respect. Clothing should be respectable mourning attire with comfortable shoes. Military funerals are not appropriate affairs for very young children since they cannot stand still for the amount of time required for a proper military funeral and their eventual squirming and talking becomes a distraction. If you are unsure of what to do at the funeral, follow the chaplain's lead.

Saluting During a Military Funeral

Military Members use salutes at military funerals to show respect for the lives of those who have served our country and they should be prepared to salute in the following situations:
  • When the hearse passes in front of them.
  • Anytime the flag-draped casket is moved (from the ceremony to the hearse, from the hearse to the gravesite).
  • During rifle volleys.
  • While Taps is played.
  • While the casket is lowered into the grave.
Non-military friends and family need not salute but should remove hats and place them over their heart during these same instances. If they are not wearing hats, they should cover their heart with their right hand.

Floral and Decorations Guidelines

To ensure compliance with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs standards and to avoid items that detract from the uniformity and military aesthetics of a Veterans cemetery, we ask that all visitors adhere to the following floral and decoration guidelines:
  • Flower Pick-Ups
    Flower pick-ups will take place once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. 
  • Fresh Cut and Artificial Flowers
    Fresh cut and artificial flowers are allowed on graves throughout the year. Temporary containers and water are provided by the cemetery for your convenience. Flowers will be removed if they become unsightly or for the purpose of landscape maintenance.
  • Interment Flowers
    Interment flowers are allowed on graves the day of interment and until they become unsightly.
  • Holiday Blankets and Holiday Wreaths
    Holiday blankets and wreaths are allowed on graves the first day after Thanksgiving through January 15.
  • Flags
    The United States flag is allowed on graves any day of the year. The flag cannot be attached to the headstone and must be lower in height than the grave headstone. Cemetery staff will remove flags that have become weathered or faded.
  • Unauthorized Decorations
    At no time can there be a display on the graves of glass, breakable items, permanent plantings, balloons, vigil lights, streamers, hanging ornaments, personal belongings, photos, shepherds hooks, hanging baskets, pinwheels, rocks, or other items that detract from the uniformity and military aesthetics of a Veterans cemetery.
  • Unauthorized Planting or Digging
    At no time can there be the planting of any item or the burial of any item on cemetery grounds unless authorized by the Texas Veterans Land Board.
  • Unauthorized Use of Headstone
    At no time can any item be affixed, attached, glued, taped, tied, or connected by any other means to a headstone, tree, shrub, plant, or any other structure on the cemetery property. Altering of headstones in any way is prohibited. We respectfully request that floral arrangements or other authorized ornaments not cover the identifying name on the headstones.
  • Offensive Displays
    At no time can there be the display of any item that may be interpreted as offensive, in poor taste, insensitive, degrading, insulting, or demeaning of the intent of the dignified setting of a Veterans cemetery and national shrine.
  • Removal of Displays
    Cemetery staff will dispose of all memorial items remaining on graves after a holiday or a reasonable time period as determined by the Texas Veterans Land Board.