Veterans Overview


James R. Gray Funeral Home salutes all past and present members of the United States Armed Forces. We specialize in planning Military Funeral Honors & would be privileged to assist in securing any benefits your Veteran may be entitled to.

The basic Military Funeral Honors (MFH) ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veterans' family and the playing of Taps. The ceremony is performed by a funeral honors detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces.

The Funeral Honors rendered to you or your veteran will be determined by the status of the veteran.  The type of Funeral Honors may be Full Military Honors, 7 Person Detail or a Standard Honors Team Detail.

At least one of the funeral honors detail will be from the Armed Force in which the deceased veteran served.  Taps may be played by a bugler or, if a bugler is not available, by using a quality recorded version. Military Funeral Honor Teams may act as Pall Bearers if requested by the veteran/family.

Who is eligible for Military Funeral Honors?

  • Military members on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
  • Former military members who served on active duty and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members who completed at least one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service in the Selected Reserve and departed under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former military members discharged from the Selected Reserve due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Who is not eligible for Military Funeral Honors?

  • Any person separated from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions or whose character of service results in a bar to veteran's benefits. 
  • Any person who was ordered to report to an induction station, but was not actually inducted into military service. 
  • Any person discharged from the Selected Reserve prior to completing one term of enlistment or period of initial obligated service for reasons other than a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
  • Any person convicted of a Federal or State capital crime sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

How do I establish veteran eligibility?

The preferred method is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.  If the DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used.  The DD Form 214 may be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:

National Personnel Records Center(NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132

The Standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the following web site:

Is anyone else eligible to receive funeral honors?

Yes. Members of the Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as members of a Uniformed Service, are also eligible to receive funeral honors.

For NOAA personnel, eligibility is established using NOAA Form 56-16, Report of Transfer or Discharge. If the family does not have a copy of the NOAA Form 56-16, it may by obtained by contacting the Chief, Officer Services Division, NOAA Commissioned Personnel Center at (301) 713-7715. or by writing:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
Commissioned Personnel Center 
Chief, Officer Services Division (CPC1) 
1315 East-West Highway, Room 12100 
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

For PHS personnel, funeral honors eligibility is established using PHS Form 1867, Statement of Service (equivalent to the DD Form 214).  If the family does not have a copy of the Statement of Service, it may be obtained by contacting the Privacy Coordinator for the Commissioned Corps at (240) 453-6041 or writing:

Division of Commissioned Personnel/HRS/PSC 
Attention: Privacy Act Coordinator 
5600 Fishers Lane 
Rockville, Maryland 20857


Additional Veterans Services

VA Burial Benefits

The amount of money available to surviving family members to pay for final expenses can vary based on several different factors, so it is best to check VA Burial Benefits to find more information about eligibility. For reference, the amount for a non-service related death is approximately $749 or less, while the amount for a service related death is approximately $2,000 or less. 

Survivor and Dependent Benefits

If a service-member died because of a service related injury or was killed during active duty, an eligible surviving spouse, dependent children and dependent parents may be eligible for a variety of benefits and services. James R. Gray Funeral Home will assist these surviving family members in utilizing all resources that are available to help them after their loss. More information can be found here

Presidential Memorial Certificate

A Presidential Memorial Certificate is an engraved paper certificate, meant to honor the service and memory of Veterans whom have died. This document is signed by the current President of the United States and is available to the next-of-kin. We can assist you in completing and submitting an application for this certificate if you would like to apply for one. More information about this certificate is available here.

VA National Cemeteries

Burial in a National Cemetery is an option for eligible veterans. The VA National Cemeteries are located throughout the United States and offer urn burial and mausoleum niches and more information regarding their services is available here. Veterans and their families now have the ability to check their pre-need eligibility to be laid to rest in a National Cemetery. James R. Gray Funeral Home can coordinate with the VA National Cemetery if the death has already occurred, on behalf of the family, for a veteran who wished to be interred there. More information can be found here.

Military Funeral Honors

If there is a committal service where a Veteran's urn will be buried in a cemetery, The VA will provide a military honor guard to perform military honors, including the playing of "Taps" to honor the Veteran's memory and service. James R. Gray Funeral Home will arrange for this ceremony on behalf of the family, in the case that the family chooses to inter the urn.* More information about Military Honors can be found here.

*Interment and cemetery fees are additional charges

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