What to do with a Military Funeral Flag

What should you do with a military funeral flag? What is the proper military funeral flag etiquette?

Let’s find out.

Military Funeral Flags

A military funeral flag is a standard United States flag, draped over the coffin of a member of the military services or veteran during his or her funeral.

The blue field of white stars laid over the area of the deceased’s head and left shoulder, with the stripes trailing down the length of the casket.

Also known as a military burial flag, the folded keepsake is given to the closest surviving family member. This would be first the spouse, and if no spouse then the parents or other “next of kin.”

Funeral flags are provided by the VA at no cost to active duty or retired veterans of the U.S. armed forces. Additionally, any civilian can request a flag, but must pay for it.

Related: Learn About the VA Burial Benefits

What Size Are Military Burial Flags?

The military funeral flag is 5′ x 9-1/2′, which is about twice the size of the standard household flag. During the service, just after TAPS is played, the American flag is folded 13 times into a triangle measuring 24″ (bottom) by 16-3/4″ (diagonal) by 2-3/4″ (width).

Folded Military Burial Flag Size

Several legends exist explaining why the flag is folded thirteen times (for the 13 original colonies, so the story goes) into a the shape of a triangle (which, according to folklore, represents the tri-corner hats worn during the Revolutionary War), with the stars uppermost (reminding us of the national motto, “In God We Trust”).

While the origins of such symbolism are lost, and military funeral protocol does not include or confirm such meanings, it is acceptable and appropriate to make such associations during the funeral service if the family wishes to do so. Protocol does not prohibit it.

After the flag is folded, it is handed to the nearest relative of the deceased veteran, usually a parent or spouse. If you are the recipient of a military funeral flag, you may be asking, What do I do with the flag? Here are a few options available to you.

What To Do With A Military Funeral Flag

1. Fly it

Flying a military burial flag

Should a flag used for a military funeral be flown? There is some difference of opinion among legal and historical scholars on this point.

The official flag code does not make mention of the issue; some hold that once a flag is folded it should remain folded, while others have concluded that it is a noble and patriotic way to honor the life of the military service member.

Again, while the flag code does not mention the usage of funeral flags, it does not expressly forbid the unfolding and flying of the flag after the funeral service.

2. Display it in a Funeral Flag Case

Funeral Flag Display

In our cremation urn and memorial store, we offer a wide selection of American-made military funeral flag displays.

These include a variety of solid wood cases, optional custom engraved name plates, medal and insignia displays, and cremation urn base attachments.

Each display can be easily mounted on a wall or showcased on a mantle to honor the sacrifice of a military service member.

3. Make your own Flag Case

Make your own funeral flag display

If you’re handy with a skill saw, wikiHow has a simple tutorial for a DIY military flag display case. This is a great way to invest your own time and craftsmanship into creating a unique memorial to honor the memory of a beloved veteran.

Military Flag Displays

1. Personalized Heritage Military Flag Case

Includes free personalization
Medal Display Flag Case

The Heritage Military Flag Case is crafted in the USA from solid walnut wood and includes a medallion of your loved one’s service branch and a free personalized name plate. The wooden case keeps the flag free from dust, and the felt lined hinged lid provides an area to proudly display awards and insignia.

2. Five Star General Military Flag Case

Military Burial Flag Displays

The Five Star General Flag Case is the premier display in our military memorials collection. Made in America from solid cherry wood with hand painted gold accent surrounding the frame.

This flag case is a two piece unit which encases the flag. The front piece holds the flag and slides into the back portion, securing the cleanest and most dust-free environment possible. Every Five Star General Flag Case is unique with antique classic cherry finish and hand distressed effects.

3. Capitol Burial Flag Case for 3′ x 5′ Military Flags

Military Flag Display for 3' x 5' flags

If your military flag is 3′ x 5′ (the size of the flag flown over the Capitol, hence the name), you’ll want to check out our Capitol Burial Flag Case.

Crafted in America from your choice of Oak, Cherry, or Heirloom Walnut, these small flag displays feature glass fronts and turn button closure on the back side for easy and secure placement of the flag.

4. Military Burial Flag Case & Memorabilia Display

Military Flag Displays

Our Military Burial Flag Case & Memorabilia Display is made in the USA to proudly showcase the burial flag and a wide array of memorabilia.

Built from walnut wood, this military memorial is wall mountable and showcases the standard 5′ x 9-1/2′ burial flag behind a glass front. Below, the acrylic-front display case is perfect to exhibit awards, patches, photos, insignia, and more.

5. Urn Base for Military Flag Displays

Military Burial Flag Display Cases
Cremation Urn Base for Military Burial Flags

The Pedestal Urn for Military Flag Displays is a pedestal base which will hold up to 225 cubic inches of cremated remains.

This is designed to fit perfectly – and match wood types – with most of the military flag display cases in our product line. The pedestal base is offered as an optional add-on on the flag case product pages which will fit.

Browse our entire collection of burial flag displays & accessories.

Military Funeral Flag Etiquette

Can you unfold the flag?

Typically you will want to keep the flag folded. However, it is entirely proper to display or fly the United States flag – even a burial flag!

To do so, you will want to use either a flagpole to fly it properly outdoors, or display it flat on a wall.

How do you display a military burial flag?

As mentioned above, you can display the folded flag in a case, fly it from a flagpole, or hang it flat against a wall.

Flagpole. Because the 5′ x 9.5′ flag is significantly larger than most “household” flags, the flagpole should be at least a good 20 feet tall.

Wall display. It’s up to you whether to hang the flag horizontally or vertically. Either way, proper flag etiquette dictates that the stars should be in the upper left corner from the viewer’s perspective.

What do I do with an unwanted funeral flag?

You could ask friends and family if they would like it; otherwise, there are many places to donate flags. Inquire at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the American Legion, branch recruitment centers, or any local veterans’ organizations.

Whatever you do, treat the flag with respect. Always remember that your loved one served under that symbol.

Continue reading the comments below for more questions and answers about military burial flag etiquette and protocol.

Read Next: What happens at a military honors funeral?

102 thoughts on “What to do with a Military Funeral Flag”

  1. Thank you for your web page. You are correct in your comments about flying a funeral flag. There is nothing “wrong” with doing so. It is only wrong if the next-of-kin feels that it is a better memorial to keep it folded as handed to them during the service. There are a lot of myths about such things surrounding the flag, such as having to burn it if it touches the ground. Nonsense. You don’t want to intentionally toss it on the ground, but if it gets a little dirty, wash it. The flag is a symbol, not some magical icon. It should be respected as a symbol of our nation, and once faded, stained, or tattered so that it is no longer fitting for display then it should be retired (destroyed in a respectful manner, not tossed in the trash) unless it has historical significance. We collect old flags and retire them in a ceremony every year.

  2. Is there any difference between flag boxes beside what type of wood they are made out of? Also, is there a spray of some sort to apply to the flag to keep it from fading? If I make a box should the corners be called to seal the flag from the elements?

    Thank you.

  3. Hi Steven,

    Each of the flag displays we offer are a little bit different; some just have a different design or wood type while others have a pedestal stand, military medal display, or cremation urn base/back. The flag display itself will keep the flag from fading, so there is no need to apply a spray – just keep it from direct sunlight. If you make a box, I don’t think you would need to caulk the corners, unless you’re intending it to go out of doors (which we wouldn’t recommend). I hope this helps!

  4. Has anyone heard of using a military funeral flag to be displayed in a frame or hung on a wall in honor of the loved one unfolded? We are thinking of using our loved one’s flag unfolded and hung whether in a frame or flat against a wall.
    Thanks, Kim

  5. I work with Scouts and assist at Camp Ammon, the Boy Scout Serice Camp at the Wisconsin State Fair. We lost a church member a few years ago and his family asked to donate the flag to the Camp after the funeral. It flies proudly every year for the 10 days of the Fair. We fly it in his honour and the honour of all who served, who currently serve and those who will serve our great nation.

  6. I have my grandfathers burial flag. I want to honor him with its display. Is it disrespectful to have a full size frame made and it display it on my wall fully unfolded?

  7. Hi Josh,

    Great question! As mentioned in the article, there is some debate amongst scholars about whether it should be unfolded or not. Most seem to say no, it should not be unfolded. If it is unfolded, it should be flown. So in answer to your question, if you would like to display the flag rather than fly it, you should probably leave it folded and display it in a triangular display case.

    I hope this helps!

  8. Hi,
    I salvaged some of an elderly aunt’s belongings after she died, and a folded military flag was in her possessions, from her husband’s funeral many years ago. The flag does not have much sentimental value for me. Are there any organizations to which I could donate the flag?

  9. When my grandfather in-law passed, my in-laws purchased several funeral flags in his honor so each of the grandchildren could have one. Since it is an official funeral flag, so to speak, is it the same size as one that would traditionally drape a coffin?

    Thinking for Fathers Day is buy a wall mounted flag pole for our front door and fly dear grandpas flag. Would this type of pole be large enough?

  10. Hi Danielle,
    Funeral flags are normally 5′ x 9-1/2′. However, there is a smaller version that runs 3′ x 5′. I believe the wall-mounted flag poles are generally for the smaller size, so you’ll probably want to measure the flag you have and compare it to the instructions on the flag pole. I hope this helps!

  11. I want to use a bigger shadow box and put a pic of my dad along with the knife he had when he died along with his dd214. Is there a proper way/place for the flag to sit or can I just design the shadow box to what best meets the eye?

  12. A friend recently gave me a flag. I believe it is a funeral flag due to its size. I don’t know ok is right for me to keep the flag. She’s not even sure who it belonged to, just found a few of them in her home. Any suggestions on what I should do? I wanted to display/use it but I can’t shake the feeling that it is disrespectful since I don’t know its history.

  13. Hi Wendy,

    Great questions! There are three things that are always right to do with a flag, no matter its history:
    1) Fly it.
    2) Display it.
    3) Donate it to a military organization.
    It is respectful to do any of these three options with any flag, and especially so when it is a funeral flag (though there is some debate about unfolding a funeral flag, see comments above. However, if it is already unfolded, you should definitely feel comfortable about flying it).

    Hope this helps!

  14. Hello Everyone, I buy Flags I see for sale in garage sales, swap meets and where ever I see them for sale. I hate imagining what happens next to the flags of fallen warriors or heroes who served this country go into storage, bought for wrong reasons or worst yet, end up in hands of some of these protesters we see on media. I have many, and they are safe and well taken care of. But what would be the next step? I have limited space.

  15. To Lynda regarding a display box, I saw a box yesterday at Michaels which includes the triangle compartment for the flag plus sections below that would house additional momentos. If you don’t have a Michaels nearby, you can probably find the special display box on their website.

  16. I have the flag that was draped over my fathers casket. I kept it in a storage box in my closet and want to display it, but it’s a bit dirty in a couple of spots. How do I clean it? Can I put it in the washing machine and dryer?

  17. I am framing my husband’s military retirement flag and want to lay his dog tags on top of the folded flag?

  18. Hi Christine,

    Great question! The issue comes down to: Is what you are doing respectful to the person and to the flag? Sounds like this is a way of honoring your husband, his military service to our country, and the flag, so I would say yes, placing the dog tags on top of the flag would be a good tribute.



  19. Hello, will you please tell me the proper way to display a flag at a veterans memorial service when they have been cremated? This is going to be a very simple memorial/celebration of life at his home because that is what he wanted but I still feel he deserves the respect and honor of having a flag which will then be presented to his wife by their sons.
    Please tell me if this is even appropriate. I do not want to disrespect the flag in any way.
    Thank you so much for any advice you can offer.

  20. It sounds like you will do a great job respecting both the flag and the veteran’s memory. To display the flag, either leave it folded in a nice flag display case, from a staff, or hanging flat with the stripes vertical and the stars in the upper left corner. See here for more.

  21. Hello, I have been recently approached by my late husbands ex-wife and daughter to give them my husband’s flag so they can give it to his son for Christmas. (Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of his passing.) I’m hurt that they have no regard for my feelings or my memories and that of our daughter. Am I wrong to want to say “No”.

  22. you are all wrong… the only way a burial flag can be unfolded, or displayed, honoring the deceased veteran, is by donating it to a National Cemetary. These dedicated people know the flag and what it represents. They Honor our fallen soldiers and deceased vets by carefully unfolding, displaying them on the designated days, in an honored procession, then retire them again, with the honor and respect deserved by a deceased veteran. We soldiers salute and respect this honored tradition.

  23. Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for your comments! That is certainly one popular view, and a very respectful one. However, as mentioned in the article and as others have commented, the flag code does not prohibit flying or displaying a burial flag so long as it is done respectfully.

    Thanks again for adding your viewpoint.



  24. About 4 years ago I wen to a yard sale and found an American flag. It was folded. About 2 years later I decided to fly the flag. When I opened it I found on the white band where you fly it from A scratched out name. After careful looking I found out who the person was. He was a submariner during ww2. Died in 1989. After getting in more research I found out about his life. I tried to get a hold of his family without success. I got a hold of a group of veterans who help former military personnel reconnect with their friends. They gave me the scoop on this veteran. Anyway. I asked if it would be appropriate for me to fly this flag in his honor on special days. They told me he would be honored to fly on those days. So I do, In his name. God Bless our veterans.

  25. The only thing about burial flags, is that they are not weather proof. Rightfully, they are not made to fly during inclimate weather and should be taken down when it rains.
    The flags they call all weather flags are the ones made of synthetic materials like polyester.

  26. Great question, Cynthia! The answer will probably vary depending on who you ask, since the flag code does not list everything. In my view, the main point of the flag code is that it is treated respectfully. So are you honoring the flag – and your Uncle – by placing it inside his wife’s coffin? I think so, so I would say yes. Hope this helps!

  27. I found my grandfathers flag on a shelf in my fathers shop. It is slightly dirty and coming unfolded. What is the protocol on cleaning and re-folding?

  28. I’m glad that you mentioned that military flags used in funerals can be flown. Even if our law does not expressly forbid people to use that flag after the funeral service, it is great to know that the closest relative of the veteran can unfold and fly it. My aunt received the same flag years earlier, and now I understand why she took it out of the case and flew it outside their home. Thank you for the information.

  29. All school gymnasiums display the flag, indoors they are seldom are replaced, but if you can time it right wouldn’t be great to donate it to a new school to display honoring the fallen. Or even in a city library, city hall or various public buildings.

  30. I thought it was really cool there was a variety of different military funeral flag frames. My uncle is a veteran, but he recently had a stroke. We aren’t sure how long he is going to last, so my aunt has started working with him to prepare funeral arrangements. How can she find those military guys to shoot off their guns?

  31. Hello! I found your page while searching for information about a flag . We found it when we moved into this house about 20 years ago. It’s folded in the traditional triangle, but the stars aren’t showing. Both sides show the strips of the flag, not the stars. So I’m wondering was this flag actually used for a funeral, since it appears to be folded incorrectly? Also the flag has a vintage look to it, where the stitching on the stars is somewhat raised, not just printed on the material. Any information will be appreciated. Thank you very much!

  32. Is there any special way to mail or ship a military funeral flag? A great grandson wants his relative’s flag.
    Thank you, I learned a lot reading through these quest

  33. Unfortunately I am not an expert on the various types of flags! Perhaps another reader has information about this? If you do, please comment!

  34. Hello, my Father is going to have a military funeral as he was a USAF Veteran.

    I will be the one they present his flag to.

    As a retired Army veteran. I think that regardless of civilian dress or not, I should salute the flag as it is being presented to me.
    Do you have any knowledge on this issue?
    Thank you so much for your time.

  35. Hi Lyn,

    My understanding is that no, civilians do not salute; however, you may want to ask the military personnel at the funeral what they think the proper response should be. Thank you!

  36. Do you have any info / sources on the recycling – more so re-Purposing the US Flag. My son is a US Marine stationed in the US. While returning from the recent NATO Exercise in Norway, he was presented with a couple of the Stars from a US flag, in an airport as a reminder that service members are not forgotten. I’d like to know more about this flag repurposing as an honorable way that the flag can live on and so I can help support this way of repurposing the flag, if needed. He does not know the organization of those giving out the stars. I’ve also read that the blue star field, should not be cut into. With his service, the flag has a deeper meaning than ever for me, so I don’t want to disrespect any who hold the flag in high regard. Thanks any help you can provide.

  37. I recently found my grandfather’s funeral flag. My mother possessed it until her passing as my grandmother was already gone, and she was the oldest child. Is there protocol that dictates who in the family gets it next?

  38. Hi Denise,

    Once the flag passed on to your mother, it became hers to do with what she chose. So if she left it to you or anyone else in her will, it passes on to that person. Otherwise I think it makes the most sense to give it to the person most closely related to or with the closest relationship with your grandfather. If there is a dispute, follow the legal ownership – who receives your mother’s possessions? I hope this helps!

  39. Hi Rick,

    That sounds like an interesting organization! However the protocol for flags is to display (or store) them properly or destroy them completely, so I do believe that the practice of “repurposing” a flag in the way that you mentioned goes against the flag code. Sounds like their hearts are in the right place, but ultimately ripping up and parceling out a flag is not proper flag etiquette.

  40. I want to display a funeral flag above crossed engraved swords awarded to the deceased
    during his military career. Would it be inappropriate to display the folded framed flag
    point down in the v formed by the crossed swords?

  41. Hi V Patrice,

    Good question. My understanding is that the point should always be aimed up, so if you were to display it with crossed swords it would go BELOW the “x” rather than ABOVE it.

  42. Here lately I have seen a lot of funeral flags showing up in yard sales, thrift shops and flee markets, some even have the peoples name tag to it,I suspect all family members are either passed on or just no one wanted it, So. one seeing this ,what should one do, or what’s the proper way of handling this if one comes across it, is there a place these flags can be sent to with the name of the people

  43. Hi Steve,

    Great question, my understanding is that old military burial flags should be given to your local national/veteran’s cemetery. You might want to contact them first to see what they have to say. Thanks!

  44. Is it inappropriate to deviate from military memorial flag protocol for a funeral for another member of the family to be presented and receive the military memorial funeral flag of the deceased veteran other than the next of kin?

  45. Hi Theresa,

    In my understanding, yes, the next of kin can decline to receive it and pass it on to someone else, or perhaps they are not able to be present and so another person can stand in for them. I’m sure it varies by situation, but the main point is that, just as with inheritance, the next of kin has priority. Thanks for your comment!

  46. If a flag has become unfolded either by accident or on porpoise what is the proper protocol on refolding it? I was always under the impression that a military honor guard needed to refold honor flags and that you can take them to your local America Legion to fold them for you. Is this proper flag edict or am I mistaken?

  47. Hi Jack,

    Here are some instructions on how to properly fold the flag: http://www.usflag.org/fold.flag.html

    From what I understand of flag etiquette, anyone can fold the flag. But I’m sure if you contact the local American Legion, or the local office of your family member’s military service branch, they will gladly fold it for you upon request.

    Thank you!

  48. I was recently shopping in an antique mall, and saw casket flags being sold, that were from estate sales. It felt wrong.. for someone to make a profit from a servicemembers flag. But I haven’t found anything online saying that it’s wrong. Am I wrong?

  49. Hi Lauren,

    I think most military service members would agree it is a little distasteful. Many advocate that old funeral flags should be donated to various organizations that will use them to honor veterans. However, these flags are also an artifact of history so it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some interest in them.

  50. Just a “Thank you” to all the helpful comments. After my grandmothers passing, we found a flag folded military style. We believed it was the one given to my grandmother after my grandfather, a US Navy Veteran had passed. Only to find out that one of my uncles had that flag. So we don’t know who this belonged to. I unfolded just enough to reveal the a mfg tag “Best, 100% Cotton Bunting, Made in USA, Valley Forge”. The stripes and binding are all machine stitched and stars are thread sewn. To me it’s a beautiful flag and I’ve held on to it until I had time to research if it would be permissible to fly in honor of whomever and our country. I was also concerned of how it would hold up being flown outdoors. All my answers were found here. This flag will be flown outside my home this coming Memorial Day and any future day honoring our veterans/military. God Bless!

  51. Is it ok to put my husbands bronze star on the flag when it’s put into display case?

  52. Hi Alexandria, Great question! That’s not something I see addressed by the flag code, so I would say it falls under a matter of judgment. Essentially, is it something that honors the flag, the service member, and the country for which they served? If yes, then I think it is ok. Hope this helps!

  53. my family found one that was abandoned in a house we were going to flip, the previous owners had died, and we don’t know what to do, all the case says is “Capt “Chuck” Kopp USMC” is there someone we should turn it over to? or should we find a way to contact the USMC?

  54. Question :

    As odd as this is I found a folded American flag in a lost and found bin at my job that was obviously used for a veterans funeral. No identification whatsoever. I immededitly took it home in respect . My question is, after reading that there is no rule on unfolding or flying a funeral flag, I just wanted to get your take on it before I fly it.

  55. Hi Mike,
    Great question! The flag code does not say. If your intention is to honor our country and those who have died in her service, then I’m of the opinion that it is acceptable to fly the flag. Others, however, disagree – they say that once the flag is folded, it is like laying the deceased to rest; you wouldn’t dig up their body, so in the same way you wouldn’t “undo” the symbolism of their ultimate sacrifice represented by the folded flag. I guess it depends on your interpretation! Hope this helps.

  56. Thank You for all this information very helpful i have not yet gotten a case to display My Husband i keep it in the triangle plastic zip bag the Funeral home provided

  57. I bought a case for my husband’s funeral flag and it doesn’t fit. Should I have it refolded and who can do that correctly?

  58. I’d suggest taking both the flag and the case to a local military connection – Veteran’s Affairs, a branch office, that sort of place. They will typically be able to tell you if you have the right size case and also be able to re-fold correctly (if necessary).

  59. Is there anyway possible to identify who’s memorial flag I came into possession of? Last fall (2019) I was contacted about stolen items found in a car trunk, it was a briefcase that belonged to my father. NCIS had managed to track me down and assist the Sheriff Department in contacting me. I drove the 100+ miles to retrieve it. It is full of family photos, papers, and a folded flag. No ID with the flag. My father, brother, and myself all served in the military. My brother is still alive as am I, obviously! We did not have a flag draped over my fathers coffin so I have no idea where this came from. Just not sure what to do with it or who should have it. ?????

  60. Hi Sheri,

    That’s a fascinating situation! I would contact the local military service branch in which your father served, and ask why he might have a funeral flag. They might be able to provide some insight. I would assume that, if it was in your father’s briefcase, it was something that he received while he was still alive. So perhaps a service member friend, or another relative?

    Best wishes in solving this curious mystery!

  61. the flag that as used at my father’s funeral had to be dry cleaned after a house fire. Who/where can I get it refolded for my mom’s display case?


  62. Hi Shelly,

    Glad the flag made it through the fire! I’d try the local VA, branch office, or recruiting office to see if they can do it, or know anyone who can for you. Best,

  63. My stepsister recently passed away. Her father, a military veteran who died during World War II, had a flag that was presented to my mother at his funeral. He is no relationship to me. I have never met him.I now have the flag and I’m wondering what to do with it. I do not want to buy it or fly it since it has no significance for me. I can find no other relatives related to him. I do not want to keep the flag.. Thoughts on what to do with it. I believe it has 48 stars. It is still folded down.

  64. Hey Andy,

    Sounds like a unique flag! You might consider donating it to your local VA office, or ask them if there is a military branch office or veteran’s association that would want it.

  65. As an only child I received my father’s funeral flag. My two children are not interested in it. I have long wondered would it be proper to fly it.
    Thanks to all these helpful comments I have come to the conclusion that I shall fly it high and proud in Daddy’s honor!!

  66. I have recently come across my father’s flag that was presented at his retirement from the USAF. Would it be ok for me to use his flag for the Flag Folding Ceremony during my retirement as a federal employee?

  67. Hi Robin,

    There’s flexibility in the regulations on stuff like this. My general approach has been – is this a respectful use of the flag, both to the country and to the individual? If yes, then I think it’s ok. You’ll probably want to plan on having a military service member who knows what they are doing re-fold it when done. As always, I’m not military so defer to someone who is a service member on these issues. Hope this helps!

  68. Are there any etiquette rules about how to hang a burial flag in its case? I only ever see them displayed as the standard triangle with its point facing upward. I have two flags, one from my dad’s funeral and one from his brother’s. I was thinking about displaying them on the diagonal with their long ends facing each other (which makes a square on the wall). But I don’t want to do anything that would be considered disrespectful.

  69. Hi Shelley,

    Great question! There aren’t any regulations in the flag code about this, and I checked with our flag case manufacturers and they said they haven’t heard anything against the idea, and that it sounds like a neat way to honor the two individuals. For areas that aren’t covered by the flag code, etiquette typically follows the guidelines of, “Does this dishonor the person’s memory? Does this show disrespect to the military in which they served? Does this dishonor the country?” If the answer to all those is “no,” then by all means, go for it.


  70. I have a 48 star funeral flag I got in an antique shop 35 years ago .
    I have always care for it , even though I never knew it’s story .
    I have such a great respect for our veterans , and our fallen heroes.
    It saddens me that the history of this flag , and the hero it was for ,has been lost…
    It is my “unknown soldier “ flag
    Thank you , to all our heroes!

  71. My dad recently passed and his flag was given to my mom. Can his flag be buried with her when she passes? I searched in many online sites and never found an answer to this question. Any info would be greatly appreciated….thank you!

  72. Hi Deborah,

    That’s a great question! It is appropriate for a soldier’s body to be wrapped in a flag. (Source; 14.4.1)

    From this, I conclude that it is acceptable to bury a flag. If done in honor of the service member, and buried in a grave with the soldier’s spouse right next to the soldier, my inclination is to say that this is an honorable way to treat the flag and the service member.

    Where the flag code is unclear or does not speak to specific situations, the general rule of thumb is, does this honor the military service member and respect the United States military? If so, then typically it is acceptable.

  73. Thank you for this site and all the questions and responses. Reading everything here has answered the question of passing on the military service flag for a deceased veteran who is not blood-related to any of this family, and has no surviving relatives.

  74. My father was a veteran of the USMC and he recently passed. I received a flag (properly folded) after he was cremated. I plan to have a memorial service for him in the spring. I want to incorporate the flag, or somehow display it in a case), into the service. Is there a protocol I should follow that is respectful? I haven’t been able to find anything definitive through my internet searches.

    Thank you so much for all the good information here.

  75. Hi Cynthia,

    Burial flags are often displayed at memorial services. It would be appropriate to place it on a table, stand, or pedestal at the front of the service near the cremation urn or near a photo of him. People also can display it in the reception area. The general rule of thumb is, As long as it is 1) not prohibited specifically by the flag code, and 2) done with respect to the decedent and the military, then it is typically permissible.

    Hope this helps!

  76. If the nearest relative decides to fly the flag rather than leave it folded and displayed, is there a particular height the flag pole should be for the flag size? I’m going to assume the standard house flag pole where any type of flag or banner can be flown would not be appropriate, sturdy enough to hold a flag, or high enough. Would the flag need to be lit after dusk or taken down each day before sunset?

  77. A veteran friend of mine who is involved with military funerals encouraged me to put my father’s identification onto his funeral flag. I know it should not be put anywhere but on the part of the flag with the grommets, but I am unsure as to what information should be included. Name, obviously, but what else, if anything?
    Thank you for your help!

  78. Hi Jennie,

    Typically name and rank, plus dates of birth and death. Many also include years served and any special honors earned, but those are optional.

  79. Hi Vicki,

    There is no specific height at which to display the flag, the main thing is that no other flag be higher than it. And yes, it should be taken down or lit at dusk.

  80. Hi, I have a funeral flag belonging to my step-father. I want to place it in a shadow box type display case and give it to my grandson. I would also like to attach an engraved plaque with my stepfather’s name and information. However, all I know is that he served one term, was mostly at Guantanamo Bay, and approximate years of service. Is there any way I can find out this information? If not, is there an appropriate way to engrave without this information?
    Thank you,
    Bobbi Courtois

  81. Hi Bobbi,

    Yes, in fact most people simply engrave the plaque with name, DOB/DOD, and military branch. Sometimes rank or any special achievements. Years of service (i.e., Guantanamo Bay 2002-2006) is perfectly acceptable. Keeping the inscription brief is very typical, so I wouldn’t worry about information that you don’t have (although it is fun and interesting to research it!).

    Here are some display cases, you can see some samples of engraved plaques as well: https://urnsnw.com/burial-flag-urns-and-displays/

  82. The family of a Vietnam vet have asked to have a folded funeral flag buried with the cremated remains of their loved one during his memorial service. Is that even permissable?

  83. Hi Mark,

    Yes, it should be possible. Just talk to your funeral director, and they can help make that happen.

  84. Casket flag folding is a ceremonial tribute to a veteran and his or her family. In any case, the flag is folded 13 times into a tri-cornered shape.

  85. Regarding questions about salute to the burial flag etiquette is military personnel regardless of prior or current military status salute the flag, civilians no military service men remove headgear and place over heart, females place right hand over heart.

  86. Hi, We have my grandfather’s burial flag. My father died recently and we were wondering if we could use the same flag for my father’s ceremony. We don’t really need two folded flags in the family and it seems like it would have extra meaning to have been used at both funerals. However, we do not wish to be disrespectful to the flag or to my father or grandfather.

  87. Hi Cathy,

    That’s a great question! I think it would be ok, and here’s why: They both fought for and served the same flag as representatives of the United States. And I agree, it will certainly have extra meaning to use the same flag. So I am not aware of any etiquette rules that would forbid it; this seems to be a way for you to truly honor and respect both the flag and the two individuals. Hope this helps!

  88. I have a funeral flag that has 48 stars in the usual position and another star in the center of the red/white stripes. I was told that groups of women contributed to the war effort by doing various activities.

  89. Those soldiers who served in war or beyond January 31, 1955, or were killed in active duty (beyond May 27, 1941) will be offered a military burial flag at their funeral. Usually, the flags are framed or placed inside the shadow box of the deceased soldier.

  90. We just left a cemetary service and while the ceremony was going on, it was raining. The flag was folded in the rain and worried if we kept it folded and properly displayed itnin a case, it will mold. What is the proper way of handling the flag so it dries without unfolding?

  91. Hi Janice,

    It would certainly be respectful to open the flag and let it dry out – you’re caring for it long-term that way! Then fold the flag back up and store or display it.

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