Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 01.02.2023

How To Place A Flag On A Veteran’s Grave: Step-By-Step

How To Place A Flag On A Veteran’s Grave: Step-By-Step

Reviewed By: Elizabeth Siegel

Cross Checked By: William Prout

4 min read

Placing A Flag On A Veteran’s Graves Steps

At a veteran’s funeral, a great way of honoring them is by placing a flag on their grave. It is considered to be the most respectful way of paying homage to a person who has served your country. However, before placing a flag on a veteran's grave, you must know how to do so. The steps mentioned below elucidate the correct protocol for honoring veterans with a flag:

  • Knowing When Exactly to Place a Flag on a Veteran’s Grave: If you wish to follow the protocols stated by the United States Flag Code, you must make sure that you do not use the American flag as graveyard decoration all through the year. If you do so, the flag stands the risk of becoming dirty or even tattered, owing to the weather conditions. As per the Flag Code, there are certain holidays in the calendar year when you are allowed to place the veteran’s funeral flag - such as Veteran’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and Memorial Day through to Flag Day. 
  • Make Sure to Check With Groups in Your Vicinity: If certain important days, such as Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day is soon approaching, certain local groups such as the American Legion, the Boys and Girls Scouts, Elks, or even the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will coordinate flag placement ceremonies. 
  • Check With the Cemetery Director: If your loved one has been laid to rest in a military cemetery, you can always speak to the cemetery’s administrative office regarding flag ceremonies. Many large military cemeteries do possess monument commissions that are tasked with handling flag placement ceremonies on important holidays. When it comes to smaller cemeteries, they often engage Boy Scouts and Girl Scout members to help with flag placement activities.
  • Review the US Flag Code Properly: Drafted in 1923 on the occasion of Flag Day, the US Flag Code has been established as a federal law. However, it still isn’t enforced all across the United States, as certain sections of the Flag Code have been deemed unconstitutional. In addition, owing to multiple fallacies in the code, the Flag Code is generally considered to be unenforceable. Yet, despite all of this, it is still considered the benchmark for a veteran’s funeral etiquetteWhen it comes to the proper handling of a flag for a veteran’s funeral, here are some of the rules listed in the US Flag Code:
  1. The American flag should never be exhibited on a float, unless supported by a staff.
  2. The American flag should not be placed over a vehicle’s hood or any other part of it.
  3. No other flag should be placed above the American flag.
  4. If placed in the open, the flag must only be displayed during the daytime, from dawn to dusk – and if displayed at night, it must be supported with adequate lighting.
  5. If the weather conditions are bad, the American flag must not be displayed.
  6. The American flag should never be placed in such a way that it touches anything under it – such as the ground, water, or floor.

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  • Make Sure the Flag is Placed Correctly: As per the veteran’s funeral etiquette, the correct way of placing the flag is by placing it in the center of the headstone, one foot in front of the same. If your loved one is being buried in a large military cemetery, make sure you buy a flag of an appropriate size, as such cemeteries generally use large flag holders. When placing multiple flags in a small cemetery, make sure you place them evenly. 
  • Bring Flowers: When visiting a veteran’s grave, in addition to the flag, you can also bring flowers as homage. There are a wide range of military-specific flowers that you can choose from for the same. When visiting a veteran’s grave, it is ideal to avoid other decorations, such as stuffed toys, streamers, and items made of plastic. 
  • Safely Store Your Flag: In accordance with the US Flag Code, when not using your flag, you must store them safely. Ensure you place your flags in a dry storage unit, to avoid damage. If, by chance, your flag is torn, store it aside separately. You must not throw the latter away, as it is considered disrespectful as per the US Flag Code.

If you are organizing a funeral for a veteran who happens to be a loved one, and wish to select an ideal casket for their ceremony, Titan Casket’s Veteran Select casket will prove to be the best and most reliable purchase. 

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