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Burial Flag


A Burial Flag refers to the United States flag provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to drape the casket of a deceased veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is typically 5′ x 9.5′ in size and symbolizes the appreciation for the veteran’s service to their country. After the funeral service, the flag is usually given to the next of kin as a token of respect and a keepsake.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Burial Flag is a United States flag provided by the VA to drape over the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran, as a mark of respect and honor for their military service.
  2. Eligible individuals include veterans who served on active duty or in the reserves, and other deceased individuals who have made significant contributions to the United States military.
  3. Flags are provided at no cost to the family and can be obtained by applying through the United States Post Office, Veterans Service Organizations, or the VA National Cemetery Administration.


The term “Burial Flag” is important in the context of VA benefits as it represents a key honor given to deceased veterans and their families in the United States.

A Burial Flag, or a U.S.

flag, is provided to drape over the casket or accompany the remains of a fallen soldier during their funeral, signifying their service and patriotism.

This symbolic gesture holds immense emotional and sentimental value for the family members and loved ones of the deceased veteran, as it is a way to honor, respect, and recognize their dedication and sacrifice made for the country.

Additionally, as a part of the VA benefits, the Burial Flag ensures that eligible veterans receive this final tribute, contributing to their legacy and remembrance.


A Burial Flag, an essential element of the VA benefits package, serves the purpose of paying tribute and expressing gratitude to deceased veterans who have devoted their time and efforts towards the service of their nation. As it unfolds, covering the casket of the deceased, the flag becomes a poignant symbol – reminiscent of the bond between the veteran and their country.

With this honor of draping the casket, the Burial Flag is meant to evoke sentiments of the deep-rooted sense of patriotism, duty, and sacrifices made by these brave men and women, who chose to serve their country selflessly. Encompassing the values that the veterans stood for, it acts as a mark of respect, a testimony to their dedication to defending their nation and its people.

The Burial Flag plays a significant role in the funeral rites of veterans, reflecting the nation’s solemn recognition of their extraordinary contribution. Its use extends to not only active duty members, but also retired service members or eligible family members.

During the funeral service, the flag is ceremoniously folded and handed over to the next of kin, providing solace in their time of grief – a memento to cherish and remember their loved one’s unyielding commitment and valor. In addition to its pivotal role in funeral services, a Burial Flag may also be displayed at a memorial site dedicated to a fallen veteran, reinforcing the message that their service and sacrifices will forever remain etched in our collective memories.

Examples of Burial Flag

A Burial Flag is a U.S. flag provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran who has served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. Here are three real-world examples regarding the use of burial flags:

Military Funerals: Burial flags are used during military funerals to honor the service of the deceased veteran. The flag-draped casket symbolizes the dedication and sacrifice made by the person during their service in the nation’s armed forces. After the funeral service, the flag is carefully folded by members of the military honor guard, following traditional folding procedures, and then presented to the next of kin as a token of gratitude for the veteran’s service.

Memorial Day: On Memorial Day, a national holiday to honor and remember deceased veterans, many families who have received a Burial Flag choose to display it at their homes or at the cemetery as a tribute to their loved ones. The flag serves as a representation of their family member’s commitment to the U.S. and the ultimate sacrifice they made to protect the country and its ideals.

Displaying in Public Places: In some cases, families might choose to donate the Burial Flag to public places like a local VA office, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post, American Legion Post, or other community buildings. These donated flags are often showcased in a respectful manner, allowing the public to honor and remember the service of the veterans whose flags are on display. This also serves as an educational outreach, informing the public about veterans’ sacrifices and the significance of the Burial Flag.

FAQ: Burial Flag Benefits

What is a burial flag?

A burial flag is a United States flag provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to honor and commemorate the service of a deceased veteran. This flag is typically draped over the casket or urn during a funeral or memorial service and is then presented to the veteran’s next of kin or close friend.

Who is eligible for a burial flag?

A burial flag is provided to veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. This includes veterans who served during wartime or peacetime, as well as those who died while on active duty.

How do I apply for a burial flag?

To apply for a burial flag, you should complete the VA Form 21-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes. This form is available on the VA website and at local VA offices. After completing the form, submit it to your local VA office, along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge document (usually the DD Form 214).

Where can I obtain a burial flag?

You can obtain a burial flag by contacting your nearest VA regional office, or by visiting one of the many VA facilities or U.S. Post Offices that distribute burial flags. Keep in mind that the VA does not issue burial flags directly to the public; the flag must be provided by an authorized government entity or official.

Can I replace a lost, stolen, or damaged burial flag?

If a burial flag becomes lost, stolen, or damaged, you may request a replacement from the VA by submitting a new VA Form 21-2008, along with any available supporting documents or evidence explaining the circumstances of the loss or damage.

Is there a specific protocol for folding a burial flag?

Yes, there is a specific protocol for folding a burial flag, known as the “13-fold” method. The flag is carefully folded into a triangle, with the blue field and stars visible, representing the union of the original 13 colonies. More information on the proper folding technique can be found on the VA website or through various veterans service organizations.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Gravesite Ceremony
  • Military Funeral Honors
  • Memorial Headstone or Marker
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate
  • Veterans Cemetery

Sources for More Information