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The Memorial Service after a Veteran's Funeral

Published: July 8, 2018

The tradition and symbolism of honoring a military member at their funeral can be a very somber occurrence. Because of this, some may prefer to have a memorial service after the burial that fully represents the life and personality of the veteran too.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you in planning the beautiful memorial service they deserve.

Choosing a Setting

When and where you choose to hold a memorial service can be a matter of convenience or necessity. Some families choose to do so right after the funeral so that friends and family from out of town can be included. If the event will include people who served with your loved one, it might be necessary to have both the memorial and funeral service on the same day. 

Veteran's organizations and clubs often make their facilities available for food after a funeral. This would be an excellent venue for a memorial service as well. Asking other veterans to stand up and say a few words or share some memories, whether they served with the deceased or not, can also set the tone.

Be Respectful

Depending on where the service is, there may be rules regarding any "decorations" that you want to add to the memorial service. While it is great to want to honor a veteran with flags and other patriotic symbols, the US Flag Code must be followed. If you are unsure if something is okay or not, ask. It is best to keep things tasteful and simple with photos of the veteran including any that you have of them in uniform and/or any medals they may have earned during their service. The flag from their casket, now folded, may also be displayed at the memorial if the family would like to do so.

Adult Beverages

If the service is held at a veteran's club, there may be a few attendees that will want to drink adult beverages. While you can't have the club stop selling alcohol, some clubs have a wall that can separate the service from the rest of the club. If it doesn't, you can always ask your guests to refrain from drinking until the end of the service. If your loved one was not into drinking, it may be best to have their memorial service in a place that does not serve alcohol out of respect.

Let the Life of the Veteran Set the Tone

The memorial service is supposed to allow people to remember the veteran throughout their life. If they were more of a joyful person with a great sense of humor, always cracking jokes at every occasion and never without a smile, the memorial should be just as joyful. Have people tell their favorite jokes and stories of the veteran. 

Some veterans may have downplayed their service throughout their life. In this case, it would be best to keep the military aspects to a minimum rather than trying to remake their image. Memorials are about the beautiful memories of the person who is gone.

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