Death can be very difficult for everyone involved. When it comes to the death of a veteran or someone who has spent their entire lives in service to the nation, the loss is even greater. Therefore, it’s important to honor them and send them away with a proper goodbye.
However, planning a memorial for a veteran is no easy feat. Death is hard enough, and there are a lot of other responsibilities that befall the close of kin. Thus, it’s hard to properly plan a memorial service that is fit for veterans. That’s why we are here to help you out with some memorial ideas for veterans.
What To Do When A Veteran Dies?
There are a lot of steps that you have to take when a veteran dies. There’s a procedure to these things. First and foremost, you have to report the death and notify the department of defense. The military personnel there can help you with questions. Next, you will need to contact your funeral director, who is especially important in the case of veteran service.
Usually, the responsibility of handling all of this falls on the next of kin of the veteran. This can be a spouse, children, or even parents. If no one is available, then close friends or relatives may also take over. Regardless, the first step you should take is to contact a funeral director who can guide you.
Here at Strouf, we have special arrangements for veterans, and we have a lot of experience arranging funerals for them. No matter what branch of service a veteran has served in, Strouf Funeral Home will arrange their military honors.
Our long–term relationships with personnel at various military installations oftentimes allow us to secure honors that would otherwise be denied. So you can contact us, and we will guide you through the process curated to your specific needs.
There’s also a lot of important paperwork that you should prepare in the case of a military funeral. The funeral cannot happen unless the paperwork is ready beforehand. A lot of people sort these out beforehand. If that’s the case, then you might find them quite easily, but otherwise, you might have to do a bit of searching.
These are the documents you will need:
- A certified copy of the deceased’s service records
- A certified copy of the deceased’s discharge papers
- Social Security number of the deceased
- Social Security number of the deceased’s spouse
- Social Security number of the deceased’s dependent children ( if any)
- Copies of insurance policies
- A certified copy of their marriage license
- A certified copy of the birth certificates of their children (if any)
- A certified copy of the death certificate of the veteran
- Veteran’s VA claim number
- Copy of the veteran’s will
Memorial Ideas For Veterans
Memorial services are very personal. Therefore in planning a special memorial for your veteran loved one, you can include personalized details to honor them. Here are a few ideas that you can personalize to suit your preferences.
- Create a Guest Book
Veterans often touch the lives of many through their work. As a result, you can expect a lot of people to show up at their memorial. You can leave a special guest book somewhere near the entrance in order for guests to write down well wishes, leave behind memories, or simply share their sorrow with words.
You can make the cover customized and include a memorable photo of the deceased. This will be a great token of memory that the family can look back upon and feel comforted by.
- Burying in Uniform
Since their work and uniform were a significant portion of their lives and identity, a lot of people buried veterans dressed in their uniforms. This is a great way to remember and honor the life they have led and the service they have provided throughout their lives.
You can also wrap the casket in the national flag. Most veterans will get their casket wrapped like this, and your funeral director can easily help you obtain the flag. In case you are going to be holding a cremation and not a burial, you can hold a flag ceremony to pay respect.
- Slide Show
Using memorable pictures, starting from the deceased’s childhood photos to important life events and, of course, their life in service and even mundane day-to-day activities, you can create a slideshow that will keep playing during the memorial.
Guests can look at the memories and reminisce or learn more about the personal life of the deceased veteran. It’s very personal and thoughtful. You can even play home videos or ask close ones to send in any pictures or snaps they want to be included in the slide show.
- Celebration of Life
A veteran’s life is usually very eventful and full of amazing stories. You can ask people they have worked with to share a few stories from their lives or even close friends and family to talk about what kind of a person they were. Celebrate their life by reliving old stories.
You can set up a podium where people can come and speak and pay their respects. Conversely, you can also compile a tribute video from the messages of people and their recorded speeches. This way, people who couldn’t be there could also be a part of the memorial.
- Military Display
A great way to commemorate the life of a veteran is to display all their medals and achievements in the memorial. You can set up a table and showcase their medals, photos, uniforms, etc.
While it can be very difficult planning a memorial of a close, loved veteran, with the right help, you can create an amazing memorial that will warm everyone’s hearts. We have had a lot of experience dealing with veteran deaths at Strouf Funeral Homes, and when it comes to Racine Funeral Homes, we are your best choice.
If you decide to use any of these memorial ideas for veterans, then we will do our best to make the memorial go smoothly and without any hassle to you or your family. We understand it is a difficult time, and our first priority is to make you feel supported and comforted. We hope we can help you!