Paying Your Final Respects to a Veteran in the Family

We all, at some point, have to deal with life’s losses. There is no passing that is inherently more or less tragic than another. Each person has a world of connection within them and, so, when they pass, we lose more than that person, we lose a world. However, if someone who has passed recently in your family is a veteran in one of the military forces, you may want to make sure that a little more is done to honor the sacrifice they made for their country and people. Here are a few ways you might be able to do that.

Finding the right place for them

Your family may have a shared plot or your loved one might have had a place that they requested they be put to rest. However, if that isn’t the case, then you may want to find a place for them that befits their status as someone who fought for their country. As such, there may be a national or state veterans cemetery available. These can include things like a grave site to be assigned, as well as some services provided like perpetual care of the grave site at no cost.

Create a memorial display

To make sure that their service is seen and respected by those attending any service or memorial you hold, it might be a good idea to put together a display that has unambiguous ties to that service. For instance, there are different kinds of flag cases that make use of the symbols such as the flag and even display medallions that they may have won in life in a respectful and simple way. These come in varieties such as glass cases and memento boxes so you can choose the one that you think best fits your loved one.

Writing a eulogy

One of the big challenges for those who might be burying a loved one who is a veteran of the armed forces may be finding the right words to say about them at a eulogy. There’s no denying that writing a eulogy can be difficult at the best of times. To incorporate the themes of service and their life as veterans can be even tougher, but there are plenty of eulogy-writing tips available to help you. An important one is to remember you’re not just writing about a vet, but someone near and dear to you, so be sure to make it true to your personal experience of them.

Be sure to be accurate regarding their service

Not all veterans are likely to talk too much about their experience serving in the armed forces. Most want to get back and acclimate to civilian life. However, a funeral is a perfect time to remind people of the sacrifices they made. However, if your loved one didn’t share too many details on their service, then you should be sure to do your research so that any facts you share or cement are true to avoid any embarrassment.

Who should be invited?

If your loved one had close friends that they were serving with, especially ones that they since made an effort to keep in contact with, then you may see fit to invite them to the memorial. Funeral invitations are not common, typically you would make a public announcement instead, but for those who had deep meaning to your loved one, it can be important to reach out. You will surely at least want to inform anyone you can remember to rather than simply letting them overhear it from someone else.

Can you get financial help?

Funerals are expensive, that’s simple and true. Furthermore, if you want to put in a little extra effort to acknowledge a veteran, then that may cost extra. As such, you may need help in covering the costs of any arrangements you put together. Depending on where you live, this can, of course, differ. However, in most cases, veterans are going to have some of their costs covered as part of a burial allowance run by the veteran’s association, and it is important to apply for this to make sure you’re not handling the financial burden alone.

There’s no objective measurement of whether or not you’ve succeeded in giving your loved one the respect that they deserved. Hopefully, the tips can help you feel satisfied in your efforts but remember that the first priority should be remembering and celebrating their life, not just the title they may have once had or the service they provided. 

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