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Flags for Deceased Veterans

2nd Mar 2014

Flags for Deceased Veterans: Receiving 1 Free Flag from the Department of Veterans Affairs

Burial flags are provided by the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) for free, for use in draping a deceased veteran's casket or urn in their service. The one free flag is offered to honor anyone who honorably served in any branch of the United States military. The flag is provided to any man or woman who served in the armed forces, who received any discharge other than dishonorable.

Who is Eligible for Flags for Deceased Veterans?

Anyone who served in the military and meets one of the following conditions is eligible to receive a free burial flag.

  • Veteran who served during wartime
    Veteran who died on active duty after May 27, 1941
    Veteran who served after January 31, 1955
    peacetime Veteran who was discharged or released before June 27, 1950
    certain persons who served in the organized military forces of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while in service of the U.S Armed forces and who died on or after April 25, 1951
    certain former members of the Selected Reserves

How to Receive Flags for Deceased Veterans

To receive one of the flags for deceased veterans, you must fill out VA Form 21-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. The flag may be obtained from your local regional VA office or your local post office. If more assistance is required, your funeral director will be able to assist you with securing the burial flag. Only one burial flag will be issued to each veteran.

For those who do not want to go through the application process to receive a free flag, or for those who have lost or damaged their free flag from the VA, it is possible to purchase your own burial flag directly from Veterans Flag Depot that specializes in flags for deceased veterans.

Displaying the Burial Flag

The way the burial flag is displayed depends on whether there is an open or closed casket. The proper way to display the flag is detailed on the application form for the burial flag. As the flag is made of cotton and 5’x9’.6” in size, it is not ideal for an outdoor display.

The flag is most often given to the next-of-kin after being used in the funeral. In the instance that there is no next-of-kin available to leave the flag to as a keepsake, the VA will release the flag to a friend who requests it.

After use in the service, the flag can be folded and stored appropriately for safe keeping by family members or a close friend. The flag can then be passed down to children and grandchildren of the deceased veteran.