Meaningful Ways to Honor Your Veteran

American flag.


A life that gave selfless service to our country is uniquely special, and a funeral honoring their sacrifices should be as well. The military values that were engrained in your loved one were likely a part of your daily lives. Did they make sure the beds were made meticulously? Did they believe in the superiority of military time? Did you wait at an airport with handmade signs to see your loved one emerge through a crowd of camouflage?


Beyond their habits, their values of duty, integrity, ethics, honor, courage, and loyalty were foundational for them and your family. For military families, there will always be a part of you that views the red, white, and blue with more intimate meaning than most civilians ever can.


Since 1862, Chapman Funerals & Cremations has helped lay to rest America’s men and women who have served. Although their uniforms have changed throughout the decades, and the rifles used to salute their courage have evolved from the ramrod-packed muskets of the Civil War, the dedication to our country and many of the traditions we partake in to pay tribute to them have not. We continue to be deeply honored to help their families pay tribute and say goodbye with the utmost dignity and respect.


During a funeral service, cremation service, or a celebration of life, honoring your veteran can be done in meaningful ways unique to your loved one, their service branch, and their life’s journey. We are proud to do our part in honoring our country's veterans and can guide you through ideas to best serve those who served us.


Traditional Honors at Chapman Funerals & Cremations

We can help your family secure traditional honors for eligible veterans, including the next of kin receiving the folded American flag and the playing of Taps by a bugler or via recording. They may receive an honor guard detail with at least two Armed Forces members. One member must be a representative from the branch in which the veteran served, and this servicemember presents the flag.


Honors at Chapman Funerals & Cremations may also include:

  • The U.S. flag draped over the casket
  • Military pallbearers to carry the casket
  • A three-volley rifle salute to represent duty, honor, and country
  • A final salute at the gravesite


Consider a Discussion With Your Veteran to Learn Their Stories

If you are preplanning a funeral, ask your veteran what parts of their service meant the most to them. Perhaps it was their journeys overseas, and you can build each location into a display during their funeral service. Perhaps it was the camaraderie of their crew, and you can reach out to them to share a eulogy. Learning stories from throughout their active duty and their life will enhance how you can commemorate their military service in the way most important to them and allow you and them to plan ahead.


Ask Family and Friends to Participate in a Coin Ceremony

Throughout the country, the practice of leaving coins on the graves to show respect for veterans has grown. This simple practice can be used during the memorial ceremony. At a dedicated location or on the headstone, attendees can be asked to take a minute to leave a coin. Coin denominations have different meanings but typically are as follows:

  • A penny means that someone (veteran or civilian) has visited and remembered
  • A nickel means that the coin-leaver attended boot camp with the veteran
  • A dime means that the coin-leaver served with the veteran in some capacity
  • A quarter means that the coin-leaver was present when the veteran died


Display Challenge Coins from their Units with Their Military History

The history of military challenge coins is widely debated, but their origin is rooted in the history of civilizations, from the Romans to World War I and beyond. Typically, a challenge coin proves group membership, with unit commanders presenting them as a symbol of recognition and achievement. The funeral service can include a display where the coin, or multiple coins, are displayed alongside a bit of history of the unit, showing when and where your veteran served. It’s a great way to highlight your loved one during different unit transitions – and their different ages – and give civilian attendees a better scope of their service.


Musical Military Traditions During the Services

On most military installations, reveille, retreat, and taps are played each duty day. Those three songs feel very similar to the journey through life. Reveille is played as a bugle call to signal the beginning of the day. Retreat is played to mark the end and precedes the playing of the national anthem. Taps is played to mark the start of quiet hours. Versions of these can be used during the service, and when displaying the flag, officiants can explain proper etiquette to pause and salute the flag.


Continue the Act of Service

Your veteran gave much of themselves to protect our country. To honor their sacrifices, consider continuing their legacy of giving by placing donation boxes to an organization that supports veterans, the military, or their families, such as the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation. Or combine their passions. If your veteran loved animals, consider a donation box for K9s For Warriors, which provides highly trained service dogs to military veterans.


Bring Your Veteran Home

Your loved one may have traveled the world during their military service, and now it’s time for them to rest stateside at home. Our funeral home locations throughout Massachusetts – Falmouth, West Falmouth, Mashpee, Martha's Vineyard, Wareham, Harwich, Yarmouth, Marstons Mills, Nantucket, Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater – are here to help guide you through the process to help you remember and celebrate the life of your military veteran in the most meaningful way.


If you’d like to learn more about our veteran's services or eligibility for military honors, call us any time at one of our locations nearest you.

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